Kai Sotto missed his dream career of becoming the first full-blooded Filipino to be picked in NBA draft selection after going undrafted on Thursday, June 23 (Friday, June 24, Manila time).

/ 27 June 2022

Prior to the draft, the 20-year-old Sotto worked out with eight different teams and coped with a damaged ankle that briefly hampered his attempt to win over coaches and scouts.

Despite his best efforts, the former Ateneo high star was forecasted to not be included in the NBA draft as he never received favorable treatment in mock drafts.

It was a clear sad outcome for the 7-foot-3 center who represented the Philippines’ best hope for a native NBA player, especially since he suited up a year with the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League (NBL).

And yet, Sotto’s name went unnoticed even after 58 players were selected during the two rounds of the annual rookie draft.

This year’s top pick, Duke forward Paolo Banchero, went to the Orlando Magic, followed by Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, who went to the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2, and Auburn forward Jabari Smith, who went to the Houston Rockets, at No. 3.

Despite the unfortunate result, Sotto still has a hopeful heart for his NBA Summer League dream but for the meantime, he is eyeing playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the coming Fiba windows.

“This is [just a] speed up,” Sotto said.

“We didn’t get the Plan A but we have a Plan B and it’s not gonna stop me,” he told News5. “This is not a signal for me to stop but for me to keep going.”