Ateneo-bound Kai Sotto named Jr. NBA MVP

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Social media’s new basketball sensation Kai Sotto lived up to the hype after copping the MVP award of the National Training Camp of the Jr. NBA/WNBA program on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Mall’s Music Hall.

“Pinaghirapan ko po ito, pinaghandaan ko ito, nag-give thanks ako sa Lord kasi binigyan nya ako ng opportunity at nakuha ko itong award na ito,” said the 13-year old, 6-foot-9 kid.

Sotto led the 10 Male All-Stars selection that will be sent to the Jr. NBA Asian training camp later this year together with the 5 Female All-Stars.

“Sobrang saya ko po, isa po ito sa pinaka-pangarap ko,” said the soft-spoken towering kid, who was the last to be called on stage during the awarding ceremony. “Yung opportunity nandito na, kaya binigay ko na po iyong best ko.”

Missing the final cut in the past two years, the son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto finally accomplished his mission after his third and final try with the MVP citation as the proof of his determination on improving his basketball skills.

Once a reliable center for St. Francis of Assisi School in Las Pinas, Sotto actually started attracting attention when he showed up in the regional camp in Don Bosco Makati and in one of the Gilas practices where he was accompanied by godfather and veteran cager Ranidel de Ocampo.

Sotto, however, was quick to downplay his new-found fame, adding it was all because of his love for the sports that pushed him to be the best.

“Sakto lang, parehas lang naman. Gusto ko lang maglaro ng basketball, yun ang focus ko lagi,” he shared. “Napakahilig ko po sa basketball kaya lahat po ng opportunity lagi kong kinukuha.”

Sotto has already committed to suit for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in the next UAAP juniors season. – By Jason Mercene 

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH