MANILA, Philippines, March 18 ------ Hiroshima Dragonflies reinforcement Kai Sotto made his home debut in more ways than one on Wednesday, as the Dragonflies battled the Kyoto Hannaryz at the Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall, leading to a 102-95 victory for the hosts.
This as Sotto not only played his first game in Hiroshima, but also because of Filipino fans who were present at the game. Playing in Japan for the first time, Sotto continues to attract Filipino fans wherever he goes. And in Hiroshima's stands on Wednesday, there were Pinoys to make the 7'3" big man feel right at home. "I saw some Filipino fans. It's easy to spot them. I can always hear when they shout. So, it was good to see my fellow Filipinos coming out and watching the game. And supporting us. So, it was just a good feeling to see them here," said Sotto during his post-game interview.
After a decent showing in his first game in the B. League when the Dragonflies lost to Carl Tamayo's Ryukyu Golden Kings, Sotto upped the ante with a near double-double against Kyoto. Sotto was efficient in scoring as he finished with a team-high 20 points while also grabbing eight rebounds as he flexed his height in the point.
Not to get carried away, though, the former Ateneo standout was keen on deflecting credit to his teammates in what was a balanced effort to the victory. "It felt good. First home game and right now, I'm just happy we got the win. It was a good team win. I mean, 31 assists, that's a good reflection of how well we shared the ball. So, good win. Really good crowd and I'm just happy to get my first home game win," he said.
Sotto and the Dragonflies hope to keep things going in the tail end of the regular season as they face the Ibaraki Robots in a weekend series on Saturday and Sunday.