Kai Sotto's NBA draft quest falls short as teams pass on the Filipino prospect

Jeremy Lin urges undrafted Kai Sotto to keep believing (2:04)

2019 NBA champion Jeremy Lin believes all is not lost for Kai Sotto after the Philippine prospect missed out on being picked up in the 2022 NBA draft. (2:04)

Kai Sotto's bid to become the first-ever homegrown Filipino in the NBA will have to go through other paths after failing to get his name called on Draft Night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday.

Thirty teams passed on Sotto in the annual draft, which saw Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren go at No. 1 and No. 2 for the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Jabari Smith Jr. was picked up by the Houston Rockets to round off an expected top three.-

- 'Don't stop believing: Jeremy Lin rooting for undrafted Sotto

Throughout the draft process, Sotto worked out with the Magic, the New York Knicks, the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers.

Not all hope is lost for Sotto, though, as he tries to get an invite for the 2022 NBA Summer League slated to start on July 7. Impressing with his play there can still get him a training camp deal or a two-way contract, which means he is eligible to play in 50 of the team's 82 games and gets a shot at having his contract be converted into a regular deal.

A return to Adelaide is also on the table, as he still has two more years (with the second a team option) left on the original three-year deal that he signed with the 36ers last year.

Regardless of the step, going undrafted is simply a detour of sorts for Sotto -- a journey that began in the Jr. NBA program in 2015 and took him to the Australia's National Basketball League last year.

The son of former PBA veteran Ervin kickstarted his basketball career with St. Francis of Assisi before standing out in the Jr. NBA and making his way to Ateneo in 2016. There, he played three seasons of UAAP high school basketball and won a title, a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP trophy and a Finals MVP award.

Sotto later went to the United States to train with The Skills Factory, an Atlanta-based development program that opened up pathways. He joined the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago in February 2020 and then the G League developmental team Ignite in May of the same year.

He left Ignite without playing a single game for the team and decided to go pro by signing a three-year deal with Adelaide in the NBL. He posted 7.5 points on 49.6 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in over 15 minutes through 24 games.

A strong finish to the season, where he averaged 11.6 points on 52.6 percent shooting along with 4.2 boards and 1.2 blocks while hitting double-digit scoring in three of those contests, helped buoy Sotto's decision to join the 2022 NBA Draft, where he was an auto-eligible draftee by virtue of being a 19-year-old talent one year removed from playing high school basketball.

An NBL return appears to be a likely option at some point and is a choice that Adelaide brass are willing to accommodate.

"The NBL is an excellent stage for him to continue developing against grown men that are physical and competitive, with our full support and resources at Adelaide," Adelaide scouting director Theodore Chan told ESPN. "We are thrilled to see his growth from this past season, and have plans in place to continue improving his game, should he decide to return after the NBA draft process."