FIBA Asia Cup

Kai Sotto still joining Gilas Pilipinas despite canceled PH hosting

Delfin Dioquino

IMPROVED. The experience Kai Sotto gained in the USA will be put to test as he reinforces Gilas Pilipinas.

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The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas says Kai Sotto is 'committed' to join Gilas Pilipinas in its training bubble

Kai Sotto is still bound to return to the Philippines and reinforce Gilas Pilipinas despite the cancellation of the country’s hosting of the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio said the federation is finalizing the travel details for Sotto.

There is no timetable yet for the arrival of the 7-foot-3 wunderkind.

Although supposed to play for Ignite in the NBA G League in February, Sotto decided to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the third window, with the squad looking to secure its Asia Cup berth.

The cancellation of the Philippines’ hosting raised questions whether Sotto will push through with his return, but SBP president Al Panlilio said the big man nonetheless wants to be with the national team.

Gilas Pilipinas is currently training in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

“Kai is committed to join the bubble regardless of whether we play here or elsewhere,” Panlilio said. “He has said that he wanted to be here and we’re in talks with him to try and bring him here as soon as possible.”

“It is good for him to come in and also learn the system that we’re trying to implement in the national team to work with his teammates and have a feel of what the system will be.”

“This will help him and help us, looking at 2023, how we can work towards forming a core team that will be competitive in the World Cup.”

Currently at the top of Group A with a 3-0 record, Gilas Pilipinas needs to win at least 1 of its 3 games to qualify for the Asia Cup. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.