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MANILA, Philippines – As far as Kai Sotto is concerned, his bid to play in the NBA Summer League will not prevent him from reinforcing Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
Sotto said he would turn his focus to the World Cup once he concludes a potential Summer League stint in the United States as he continues his bid to become the first homegrown Filipino to reach the NBA.
Hoping to earn a Summer League roster spot, Sotto recently participated in mini camps organized by the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks.
The 7-foot-3 big man will attend another mini camp put together by the New York Knicks.
“Summer League won’t be a conflict in terms of scheduling before the World Cup,” Sotto told PlayItRight TV. “I think there’ll be time.”
The Summer League in Las Vegas will run from July 7 to 17, meaning Sotto can join the national team in training for more than five weeks before the World Cup – co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia – on August 25.
Sotto, though, is expected to miss Gilas Pilipinas’ training camp in Europe, where it will face teams from Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania in a series of tune-up games.
“Right now, I’m focusing on these mini camps. I’m just about to focus all in on the Summer League, try my best to make it to the NBA,” he said.
“After the Summer League, I’m pretty much focused on the World Cup.”
Sotto, the tallest player in the Philippines’ 21-man World Cup pool, said it is a “big deal” to represent the country in the global hoops showdown.
“As a 21-year-old basketball player, I think it’s going to be the biggest opportunity, biggest challenge, the highest level that I’m about to play so far in my career,” said Sotto.
“The best of the best in the world will be there playing,” he added. “It gives me chills every time I think about it. Just very excited.” – Rappler.com