The chatter surrounding Kai Sotto died down after his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 Basketball FIBA World Cup. Almost six months later, though, he’s slowly but surely made some noteworthy noise in his second season in Japan’s B.League. 

Since joining the Yokohama B-Corsairs on loan from the Hiroshima Dragonflies, Sotto had gotten the necessary opportunities to show how far he’s gone compared to when we all saw him represent the Philippines back in September. 

We all know he can score and defend while also being able to throw a nifty pass here and there, but can he do so with a heavier workload? 

As of late, it seems so. 

Sotto’s recent play has helped allay fears that the back injury that limited his 2023 NBA Summer League could be a nagging problem. His latest performance, a career-high 26 points in a 90-85 overtime Yokohama B-Corsairs victory over the Chiba Jets, was easily his best showing to date.  


The 21-year old has been churning out double-doubles and taking on more responsibilities on offense. Off-ball movement is where Sotto will most likely get his points, and his efforts to improve on that end have been quite noticeable. Patience has often been a sign of maturity and there hasn’t been much sulking; if Sotto doesn’t get the ball, he simply finds a way to get into better position. 

Of course, there are areas where Sotto must still get better at, particularly on the defensive end. His rest-of-the-season outlook, though, seems better than that of the 17-22 Yokohama B-Corsairs. 

Sotto’s great play as of late should be good news for Gilas, who are set to participate in the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this month. Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone selected Sotto for his original 12-man pool, which he plans to use for the foreseeable future. It speaks volumes to the trust Cone and his staff have with Sotto and the rest of the pool both in terms of what they can offer now and in future tournaments such as the Olympic Qualifying Tournament later in July. 

Moving forward, Sotto still has more than 20 games to get additional reps and experience, all of which could help him get another summer league invite. Those contests should provide scouts from various NBA teams and even squads in other top-flight leagues a better look at Sotto and how he has made strides. Thankfully, the 2024 NBA Summer League is scheduled to be held from July 12-22 2024, which is five days after the end of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Any chances of conflicts in schedules shouldn’t be a major issue. 

Year Two in Japan’s B.League has been great for Kai Sotto and the work he has put in has not gone unnoticed. Of course, Sotto shouldn’t be complacent as he has work to do, but he doesn’t have to dig deep for inspiration as the mindset he’s had this season is a great place to start.