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Sotto, 36ers battle Suns

Filipino sensation Kai Sotto finally get a chance to test his mettle against legitimate NBA players when his team — the Adelaide 36ers — battles the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Action is set on Monday at 10 a.m. (Manila time) with the 7-foot-2 Sotto tipped to bang bodies with Suns big men DeAndre Ayton, Bismack Biyombo and Jock Landale while sharing the court with future Hall of Famers Chris Paul and Devin Booker as part of the NBLxNBA Series.

It’s going to be the 36ers’ second game in this preseason series between National Basketball League squads and professional American teams.

Sotto and the 36ers tipped things off with an 86-81 victory over Atlanta-based club Overtime Elite last Saturday also in Phoenix.

The 20-year-old former Ateneo de Manila University slotman had a forgettable performance with four points and two rebounds.

His teammate, Nick Marshall, however, impressed coaches and scouts in attendance as he torched the Elite with a game-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting on top of 10 rebounds.

Still, the game against the Suns — and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday — is the real battle for Sotto, who is being groomed to become the first full-blooded Filipino to see action in the National Basketball Association.

In fact, Sotto admitted that he couldn’t sleep after getting snubbed in the recent NBA Rookie Draft last June.

“I can’t sleep at night without remembering the fact that I didn’t get drafted,” he told 10 News First Adelaide.

“It’s a dream come true to play in an NBA environment, NBA teams, NBA court, NBA fans. I’m pretty excited.”

Sotto said he will keep on chasing his NBA dream by coming up with a strong performance in his second season in the Australian league.

“That’s why I’m here today in the NBL,” he said.

“That’s what keeps me going. It gave me a better sense of direction. Now I know what to do.”

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