After Seaba coming-out party, Kai Sotto, Batang Gilas train sights on Asia's big boys
Kai Sotto kisses the hand of an elder at the end of his Seaba U16 debut. Jerome Ascano

KAI Sotto feels Batang Gilas will be ready to take on Asia's big boys after dominating their Southeast Asian rivals, although they have yet to hit top form.

Batang Gilas completed an unbeaten run to the title in the Seaba Under-16 tournament and now gear up for the Fiba U16 Asian Championship.

Sotto, however, noted there are areas in their game that need to be worked on before the continental competition set in October.

“Ready na kami (sa Fiba-Asia) pero mas i-reready pa namin sarili namin kasi hindi pa kami ganun ka-perfect para maglaro sa Fiba-Asia,” said the 15-year-old Sotto.

“Pero kaya namin ’yun. Magpa-practice talaga kami ng maayos kasi ibang usapan na ’yung Fiba Asia,” he added.

Sotto had a big game in the tournament finale, posting with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks in the win over Malaysia.

[See Batang Gilas stamps class, trounces Malaysia to complete sweep of Seaba U16]

Despite being the tallest among the players that competed in the Seaba, Sotto said he still has a long way to go before he can say that he is ready to compete against the top Asian players in the tournament.

Batang Gilas coach Mike Oliver agreed.

“Different story kasi dito, magagamit natin ‘yung strength natin sa ilalim,” said Oliver.

“Pagdating sa Fiba-Asia, mahihirapan tayo. Kailangan natin i-develop ’yung outside shooting natin.”

The 6-foot-11 Sotto is pleased to have experienced playing international basketball, and is doubly glad to finish it with a title.

“Napakasaya ko rin kasi isa ’tong malaking experience para sa aming lahat. Simula pa lang ng game, iniisip namin na kami ’yung pinaka-naghirap para makuha ‘tong championship na ‘to,” said Sotto.

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