MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo is keeping his eye on young Filipino center Kai Sotto -- and the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player is even learning some of the teenager's moves.
Fajardo told Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News that he is optimistic of Sotto's chances of making it to the NBA, after the 18-year-old decided to skip college and instead play in the G League together with other high-profile prospects.
"Sana," said Fajardo. "Malaki 'yung chance niya na makapasok sa NBA. Tuloy niya lang ang ginagawa niya."
Sotto left for the United States in 2019 after a strong high school career that included leading Ateneo de Manila High School to the UAAP title in 2018. He began making a name for himself in Atlanta and was invited to the Basketball Without Borders camp in February.
He later turned down offers from NCAA Division 1 colleges to play in the G League Select Team, together with Jalen Green, Daishen Nix, and Isiah Todd. Former NBA player Brian Shaw will coach their team, and the young stars are also set to receive mentorship on the court to prepare them for life in the NBA.
Fajardo said that Sotto's height gives him a strong chance of making it in the league. At 18, Sotto already stands at 7-foot-2.
"Sobrang tangkad niya," said Fajardo, who is listed at 6-foot-10. "Tapos, 'yung skills niya. Sobrang ganda ng mga galaw niya."
"Napapanood ko 'yung mga highlights niya, mga videos niya. Sobrang ganda," he added. "Dami kong natutunan doon sa kanya."
Fajardo said Sotto will always have his full support, as well as of the Filipino people.
"Lahat naman tayo nakasubaybay sa kanya. Buong Pilipinas nasa likod niya, nakasuporta sa kanya, so sana, siya na 'yung first na Filipino na makakalaro sa NBA," he said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).