Joining forces

Jalen Green and Kai Sotto
SOTTO, GREEN: Showcasing their talents together in the NBA G-League.

USED to be rivals in Manila two years ago, Jalen Green and Kai Sotto are ready to combine forces for the NBA G League select team.

"Not only that, we're also gonna represent the Philippines, so it'll be really exciting. We're gonna put on a show," said Green in an interview organized by NBA Philippines over the weekend.

Aside from Green and Sotto, the other prospects to have joined the G League's pro pathway program for the 2020-21 season are Daishen Nix, Isaiah Todd, Jonathan Kuminga and Princepal Singh.

Former NBA champion Brian Shaw will handle the G League select team.

The two young stars have yet to share the court, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a change of plans in virtually all sports leagues worldwide, including the G League.

Once they get together, Green is looking forward to seeing how Sotto has improved since they first played against each other in the NBTC National High School Championship. 

The 6-foot-5 guard, who was then representing FilAm Sports USA, had gotten the better of Sotto, who was with Ateneo, even posterizing the 7-foot-2 with a slam dunk that went viral.

The two first met in Manila in 2018. Since then, Green and Sotto has constantly getting in touch, especially when Sotto moved to Atlanta last year.

"Kai's a great player, still figuring out his game. I think he's a great player, I think he can be a great player, I think it'll come together and play really great together," said Green who traces his roots to the Philippines.

A consensus five-star recruit and the best shooting guard in the 2020 class, Green made a trail-blazing decision to forego college and become the first commit in the G League pro pathway team, where he will receive coaching both on and off the court to prepare him for the NBA.

Other top prospects soon followed suit, including Sotto, who is seeking to be the first pure-blooded Filipino player to play in the NBA.

"Me and Kai, we've got a good relationship, I think. I talked to him a couple of times in the Philippines. We were playing against each other, so I didn't really got to talk to him that much but it was more, he knows that we're bros off the court," said Green, who is tipped to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year's NBA Draft.

"I heard he came out to the States and he was working out. I told him like, 'I hope you're doing good, I hope you're getting better and stuff.' And then, when he came to the G-League, I told him, congrats, can't wait to be your teammate, I'm excited to play with you and represent the Philippines," he added.