Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said Kai Sotto could be the start of a steady stream of homegrown Filipino talent making their way to the NBA.
"Anytime you have one or two guys break through, and you just continue to work and continue to have the enthusiasm and environment. At some point you can end up being like Canada," Williams said in an interview on NBA Philippines' Republika Huddle.
Sotto could become the first native Filipino to be drafted into the NBA after being signed as one of the players in the NBA G League -- a program looking to develop the next generation of elite prospects.
"There was a time when Canadians - and they're just north of the border - but there weren't that many Canadians who had pushed themselves into the level of high-level college players," Williams said.
He cited the Canadian stars who since have risen in the league -- specifically the Golden State Warriors' Andrew Wiggins and the Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray -- and that the country now consistently produced world-class talent.
"It started with one or two guys back in the day," Williams said. "The guys from Canada obviously looking at American players, but they also saw guys that grew up the same way they did, came through the same gyms they did, and now believe that they can."
Williams believes the Philippines can follow a similar path, especially since Sotto and Filipino-American standout Jalen Green are setting an example for younger Filipinos.
"So I think if you guys continue with your programs, camps, and seeds of fundamentals. ...Now that you have a few examples you might end up having your own pipeline," Williams said. "That's exciting for me. Think about your own country having 10, 12, 15 guys in the NBA? How cool would that be?"