NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao believes his coaching staff has nothing to lose in its decision to include teenager Kai Sotto in the pool for the next window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Guiao said the move to include Sotto in the pool will be beneficial not only for the Ateneo center but also for Philippine basketball in general as it will expose the 7-foot-1 teen exposure to a higher level of play in the company of top pro players.
“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain with Kai if he is there,” said Guiao. “I like to see him play against the big boys and be able to accelerate his development.”
Sotto has been making a big impact not just for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in the UAAP but also for the Batang Gilas program where he has played in the Fiba worlds. He has also drawn interest from club teams abroad, particularly in Spain.
Guiao said he is not discounting the possibility that the 16-year-old will be included in the final line-up of Team Pilipinas for the games against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3.
“Who knows? Baka gulatin tayo. Mamaya, makakuha siya ng slot sa Top 12. We don’t know that. But we have nothing to lose,” said Guiao.
Guiao said Sotto is so dominant in the juniors level whether locally or internationally so the Team Pilipinas coach believes its about time that he levels up.
“We are just trying to make use of the opportunity for him to be developed and be able to upgrade the competition that he has been playing in. Dominado na niya masyado ‘yung high school. Dominado din niya ‘yung Under-18. Now, maybe it’s time to try the big boys.”
“Or the old boys, kasi big boy din siya,” Guiao said with a smile.