Ethan Kirkness and Kai Sotto, keep them growing


Manila Times reports about Ethan Kirkness and Kai Sotto, keep them growing.

I remember growing up when the tall- est basketball talents in the country were Romy Mamaril, Abet Guidaben, Manny Victorino and Ramon Fernandez. None of them stood taller than 6’6”. Some years later, 7’0” EJ Feihl and 6’9” Marlou Aquino entered the picture and they obviously stood out in every Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game. But it wasn’t until the mid-2000’s that 6’10” Greg Slaugh-ter and 6’9” Japeth Aguilar came to form the present-day skyscrapers in local hoops.

Now we hear of very young talents that have already grown to astounding heights, and they continue to grow. 14-year old Ethan Kirkness and 14-year old Kai Sotto are already 6’9” and could grow a few inches more. Both are also heavily into basketball, which should improve their skills tremendously over the next few years. Sotto, the son of former pro Erwin, is currently playing for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets varsity squad in the summer league Fil-Oil Cup. On the other hand, Australian-born Ethan is chiseling his craft under former Aussie pro Greg Fox in Australia. Ethan’s father Michael has invested a lot in his development to hopefully crack the Batang Gilas’ line-up soon. His mother Dinah is from Dumaguete.


The 2017 FIBA Asia U16 Championship is the next important tournament for the Batang Gilas, it is the qualifying tournament for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Championship. A team with Kirkness and Sotto in the center position while Carl Tamayo in the forward position, future Batang Gilas will not be in disadvantage in term of height.

Height is the biggest disadvantage of Philippine basketball in international play. Our guards can compete very well with the best in Asia and also in the  world. What we  really need is more size in the forward and center positions and maybe with the improvement of both Ethan Kirkness and Kai Sotto, that hole in the center position will be fill in by the two teen giants. In the forward position, hopefully 6’5 15 years old Carl Tamayo of Adamson will be the answer of the Batang Gilas.

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