Close this search box.
Play Video

Call Center Cactus Chat

Episode 12: Growth and Success with NBL Superstar Kai Sotto

Eric sits down with Filipino-born basketball superstar Kai Sotto to go over how he overcomes failure and achieves dreams as a young athlete/entrepreneur.

Listen to the Podcast:


Eric:  Welcome to the Contact Center Cactus Chat Podcast. I’m your host Eric Mulvin, coming to you from sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

Jake: I’m your co-host Jake Cayang, from Dumaguete City, Philippines.

Eric: I’m a serial entrepreneur, started my first business 10 years ago, and six LLCs later, I started Pac Biz Contact Center Outsourcing in 2015. Today, we have over 200 employees grown.

Jake:  And I’m the operations manager here in PacBiz and I’ve been working with Eric since 2014. And I grew as the company grew.

Eric: So whether you’re looking to outsource for the first time, whether you manage a contact center, or you’re just looking to improve your customer experience, we’ll be covering topics for you.

Jake: So business managers, operations managers, business owners, this is for you. So make sure to subscribe.

Eric: Welcome to another episode. We’re excited, you’re listening. And this one is probably going to be one of my favorites because it’s one of the biggest people I’ve ever gotten an interview. Jake, you just got a chance to see the full episode. And we’re talking about Kai Sotto, so who’s Kai Sotto? Tell us who he is?

Jake: Yeah, I’ve been – his name is very popular in the Philippines. And yeah, I thought he’s 22. But he’s only 20, seven foot two inches tall. That’s really really tall. And he’s- I would say the next person that is gonna bring the Philippines back to the sport industry. So this time, I think – is he the first Filipino to be in the NBA? I’m not sure.

Eric: No, though we got Jordan Clarkson. I think he’d be the first full Filipino. Everyone’s kind of mixed. Yeah. But there’s Jordan Clarkson. I think Jalen Green on the Houston Rockets. So this guy he’s tried to make in the draft. Unfortunately, things came up. He’s got a little bit of interest story. But no one’s journey to the top is a straight path, right? Everyone that tries to make it to the top has to go through some struggle, has to go through some pain. And so we’re getting a chance to talk to Kai Sotto early on his career, maybe not that many people know about him. But he’s well known in the Philippines, he’s well known amongst Filipinos in the US. And we talked about that as well.

Jake: Yeah, I mean, the energy. I saw him played several games, you know, the energy, that he’s fast for his height. He’s really tall. And you know, he can move that fast. And yeah, I really hope he can make it to the NBA.

Eric: Yeah, I hope so too, we’re all rooting for him. And it was really interesting, because I had a chance to interview him right before they played their first NBA game. And so for those that don’t know, in the NBA, the very first preseason game, it’s always played against a foreign team. Typically, it’s some team from Australia. And so the Suns had the privilege of hosting them in Phoenix, a couple of weeks ago. And before the game, the day before, we had a chance to sit down with a lot of the Filipino Chamber members out here in Arizona, for the chamber out here. And actually some of the Chamber members from different parts of the Southwest. They were able to bring Kai Sotto in. So before he had that game, which actually, it’s not any kind of spoiler alert or anything, but they actually went on to defeat the Phoenix Suns. And they were the very first team in modern NBA history to beat the NBA team that from Australia. So it was a pretty big accomplishment. And I wish I had a chance to ask him how it went after. But we actually got a chance to talk to him about what he’s excited about, which is pretty cool. So-

Jake: So that’s, you know, that game he’s tested to play with, you know, the caliber of NBA players and how he went, so they won.

Eric: Yeah, they ended up winning.

Jake: That’s, oh, that’s something.

Eric: Yeah. And even it was it was a really special game. They even had a Filipino halftime celebration. They brought different performers from around the Phoenix area, they did a big show to a lot of Filipino cultural dancers, Tinikling and different dances. So it’s pretty cool to check out and so what we have here, though, is an interview between me and Kai Sotto, from the other week. And also one other thing too, we got to talk about, what it’s like being a business owner entrepreneur. So if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur listening and you’re going through some of their struggles, you know, check out the advice he has to say of what he went through. Because it’s a lot like what we go through trying to help grow our businesses. So hopefully, you guys can find some inspiration in that so you’ll want to hear his answer from that.

Jake: Alright, so yeah, I’m excited to hear and watch the video.

Eric: So alright guys, well, without further ado, check out Kai Soto with his exclusive interview with me, Eric Mulvin of Pac Biz. And I’m here with a very special guest, Kai Sotto who already at the young age of 20 is making a name for himself around the world. So he’s playing on the 36ers out of Australia, you got your first big game tomorrow? Is this the first NBA level game that you’re playing in your career?

Kai: It is gonna be the first one, first preseason game. So very excited. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Eric: How big of a game is this for you, considering you’re playing the Phoenix Suns. That’s, pretty big.

Kai: It’s pretty big. You know, Phoenix Suns is a great team. They were in the finals couple years ago. So you know, a lot of good players. So I just can’t wait, this will be an unforgettable experience. You know, the first time is always memorable. So I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Eric: Awesome. And I’m curious at what age because I know your dad was in the PBA, right? So you have that as an influence. But at what age did you realize this was gonna be your career that you’re gonna be going to be a basketball player shooting for the NBA?

Kai: I mean, ever since I started playing basketball, I mean, I started playing basketball at a young age, probably 5, 4, 5 years old. But probably when I started playing organized basketball at 14, that’s when I realized that, you know, as long as I continue on just working hard and just continue on developing my strength and my skills and everything. I believe that I would, you know, I would be a good player that would be out, I could reach the highest level of basketball. So that’s still the goal and the plan for me every single day is to get better so-

Eric: And now you’re out here in Phoenix, Arizona. You’ve got a whole bunch of people that are already fans, like I’m sure everywhere you’re going around the world now you’ve got people that are recognizing you. They’re like, “Hey, Kai what’s that like? What’s it like being recognized everywhere these days?”

Kai: It’s good actually, to just feel that, you know, people know you and people support you in your journey. So I’m just blessed to have those people around me. And I think it’s just the Filipino culture, you just support your fellow Filipinos. And I mean, the US is pretty far from the Philippines, so just to see Filipinos here in the US and just to see the smile on their faces. And the fact that I can make them feel a bit happier. It’s, it’s a, it’s a good feeling for me.

Eric: Yeah, man, it’s cool. There’s so many Filipinos out here. And, you know, so there, I feel like there’s a lot of crossover between sports and being at the highest level in business, people don’t realize how much work it takes to get to the top. Now, there’s a lot of people that could be watching that maybe they’re a kid thinking of, I want to be an NBA one day, or maybe they’re thinking of starting a business one day, and they’re gonna have a lot of setbacks, they’re gonna have a lot of a lot of bumps on the road along the way. What do you do to overcome that? What advice would you give to those people, as they hit that adversity to overcome that and keep going to that bigger goal?

Kai: I mean, based on my experience, I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is not to be scared to fail. It’s just to keep trying, you know, sometimes when I was younger, I sometimes stop doing things because I know that I might fail. But, what I learned is that, you just have to keep on trying. If you fail, you’ll learn how to do it, how to be better. If you succeed, you
succeed! So I think it’s a win-win for me. And failure is a part of life, part of growing so you just have to not be afraid to fail. Just keep on trying and just to believe in yourself. People might not believe in you but you know, you can only control what you can control. So control yourself, believe in yourself and put in the work. Nothing is impossible.

Eric: That’s great advice. All right. Well, hey, best of luck tomorrow. Best of luck. We’re going to be watching you, following you on your way up to your NBA career. So, thanks for taking some time with us today.