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Basketball: Philippines star Kai Sotto joins B-League's Hiroshima Dragonflies

Kai Sotto. (Photo courtesy of FIBA/Kyodo)

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- B-League first-division side Hiroshima Dragonflies announced the acquisition Tuesday of Philippines men's national team center Kai Sotto, one of the biggest stars of the game in the basketball-loving Southeast Asian country.

    The 20-year-old, who stands a towering 220 centimeters, recently finished his second season with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia's National Basketball League.

    Hiroshima, which is currently second in the B-League western conference at 27-9, expects Sotto to arrive as early as mid-February.

    "I want to do everything I can so that the Dragonflies, who are aiming to advance to the B-League championship, have a great season," Sotto said through the team.

    Sotto went undrafted in the 2022 NBA draft but remains determined to play in the world's premier basketball competition, according to media reports from the Philippines.

    Talking up Sotto's speed and "basketball IQ," Dragonflies general manager Shuji Okazaki said the team had been pursuing the player for some time.

    "We sent him an offer early on, but his ultimate goal was going to the NBA and he wanted to earn experience in Australia," Okazaki said. "Since then, we have continued negotiations and communication with an eye on this season and next season."

    Sotto is expected to be a key player for the Philippines when it co-hosts the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in conjunction with Japan and Indonesia from August.

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