MANILA, Philippines — It seems like everything came full circle for Kai Sotto and Amar'e Stoudemire when the duo trained together in Miami, Florida a couple of weeks ago.
This as the 18-year-old Sotto had first encountered Stoudemire in the player's own children's book his father had gifted him as a child — a memory that he didn't waste the chance of sharing with the former NBA player.
"Sobrang saya ko nung time na yun, kaya di ko rin makakalimutan yung moment na kasama ko siya," said Sotto in a press conference organized by Smart earlier this week.
"Unang sinabi ko sa kanya ay nung mas bata pa ako, binigay na birthday gift ng dad ko yung isang libro niya," he added.
The book was part of the series STAT: Standing Tall and Talented which Stoudemire himself wrote and was first published in 2012.
Like the younger Sotto who read the book, the series centered on a young boy aiming to reach his dreams on the basketball court.
Stoudemire was happy at Sotto's story, considering that he had made the books to help kids get into reading as he did not have the same resources himself.
"Kinwento ko yun sa kanya at tuwang-tuwa siya," Sotto said of the 38-year-old's reaction.
Being around the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year that had been part of Sotto's inspiration growing up as a basketball player, the former Ateneo Blue Eaglet just couldn't let the opportunity pass to tell Stoudemire how his book affected him.
"Sobrang gandang feeling lang na galing sa Pilipinas, binabasa ko lang yung libro niya, at napapanood ko lang siya sa YouTube, sa TV dati, at nung nakita ko siya in person, di ko sinayang yung opportunity na yun na sabihin sa kanya," he said.
Sotto and Stoudemire were training together in the Miami Perimiter, a facility in Florida as the former prepares for his Australian National Basketball League stint with the Adelaide 36ers later this year.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com