Jordan: Sky’s the limit for Kai

Jordan Clarkson knows the sky’s the limit for his Gilas Pilipinas teammate Kai Sotto.

Seeing Sotto’s development after two games in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Clarkson advised the 7-foot-3 Filipino youngster to continue making strides on his dream of still making it to the National Basketball Association.

The Utah Jazz stalwart said Sotto still has a lot of time to catch up and turn into the best version of himself.

Kai Sotto scores against Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Almarwani during their FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers match at Mall of Arena in Pasay. (Photo by Rio Deluvio)

Sotto led Gilas’ interior defense by posting a double-double game of 16 points and 13 rebounds to support Clarkson’s 23-point outing in their 84-46 win over Saudi Arabia late Monday.

“Sky’s the limit for him, he just got to keep putting the work in and keep making strides in his career path,” Clarkson said.

“I think he’s 20 years old, I didn’t make it to the league until I was 21 or 22 years old. I think he’s going to Australia to play against pros at a young age and really learn the game.”

Sotto can definitely seek inspiration from Clarkson.

Kai Sotto pulls a rebound against Saudi Arabian defenders. (Photo by Rio Deluvio)

Before becoming a reliable off-the-bench scorer and 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Clarkson had to struggle before making his mark in the best league in the world.

Clarkson was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 46 pick that put him into an uncertain position of whether he can make an impact or at least land a sure spot in the star-studded squad.

The Filipino cager was even assigned to the Lakers’ G-League affiliate, Los Angeles D-Fenders, before transferring to Cleveland Cavaliers and finding home with the Jazz.

Sotto, meanwhile, is trying his best to keep himself in the radar after getting snubbed in the 2022 draft.

He surely did the job done for Gilas in the fourth window, serving as their pillar on defense by finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds in the Nationals’ 85-81 loss to Lebanon.

Sotto revved it up in front of the Filipino crowd as he stayed on his ground against older and tougher Saudis big men like Mohammed Almarwani and Naif Althalabi.

Once he gets back to Australia, Sotto will have another chance to prove himself against tougher foes when the Adelaide 36ers battles Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunders.

“For him, just stay with it. Not to get down, give up or anything. I think he has a bright future,” Clarkson said.

“He’s young, he’s just learning. Go in the weight room, get stronger and put some time in as he grows into a player that he is.”

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