May 24, 2024

Looks familiar: Kai Sotto recreates a June Mar Fajardo ‘special’ in Gilas Pilipinas win during FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers

Looks familiar: Kai Sotto recreates a June Mar Fajardo ‘special’ in Gilas Pilipinas win during FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers
Kai Sotto with his best JMF impression in Gilas Pilipinas' win against Chinese Taipei | Photo © RM Chua, FIBA

Kai Sotto learns from none other than the master himself, June Mar Fajardo. 


The seven-foot-two big man of the Hiroshima Dragonflies has been anointed as the next great Philippine big man by analysts and vloggers alike. Just check how many "Kai Sotto, ginulat ang mundo" YouTube videos have been created.


Even coach Tim Cone thinks so.


[ALSO READ: Tim Cone pays Kai Sotto ultimate compliment: ‘He is going to dominate Asia]


The comparison with seven-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo is inevitable.


Two towering big men who can manhandle their opponents single-handedly with just their body frame and power, Kaiju and the Kraken possess an array of post-moves with a combination of decent footwork and sweet touches. 

Their common denominator? Tricky ball fakes. 


Now Fajardo wasn't able to step on the court during the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, as he was ordered to rest due to a calf injury. But his presence was definitely felt at the Philsports Arena last Sunday.

Kai Sotto had dominated Chinese Taipei all-game long behind a strong 18-point, 10-rebound double-double. This was highlighted by a must-see ball fake on Chieng Liu, before driving in the paint to find a cutting Scottie Thompson for an easy deuce.



And it seems Fajardo taught Sotto a thing or two regarding ball fakes. Because this one seemed really familiar.

@onesportsphl WHAT A FAKE BY KAI 😅 Kai Sotto fools his defender before dishing out a dime to Scottie Thompson! #AsiaCup #GilasPilipinas #SportsOnTikTok ? original sound - OneSportsPHL 

 Before Kaiju, the Kraken used the same exact move whether in the post or facing up a smaller defender.

And yes, he made the very same one against Chinese Taipei six years ago in a FIBA competition.


And we're not kidding when we say Fajardo really likes delivering the Abai special.



There's a lot of ways to go for Kai, but being under the wings of Fajardo is the best thing that happened to the seven-foot-three youngster. 


With all these tricks, maybe we'll soon see YouTube videos titled, "Kai Sotto, ginulang ang mundo."