THE Atlanta training sure has served Kai Sotto well.
Two months in and a bulkier version of the 7-foot-2 wunderkind will spearhead Gilas Pilipinas Youth in the 2019 Fiba Under-19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.
From 210 lbs., Sotto is now at 223 lbs. But his added mass did not slow him down one bit.
Rather, it only boosted his confidence to dominate the paint more.
"Nung nag-gain ako ng weight, imbes na mabigatan ako sa sarili ko, parang mas gumaan pa yung pakiramdam ko," he said.
"Nag-gain ako ng confidence na bumilis ako at mas naging explosive ako. Kung naisip ko naman na halos every day ako nagwo-work out, kaya kong gawin anuman ang nasa isip ko."
Sotto's improved form is a major boost for the Philippines, especially with twin tower partner AJ Edu as well as fellow frontliners in Geo Chiu and Bismark Lina completing what is easily the tallest youth team in history.
But the 17-year-old center knows size won't matter if Gilas Youth can't put it into good use.
"Depende yun sa amin, lalo na kung magamit namin sa ayos ang laki namin," he said.
"Malaking tulong yung may height ka kasi mas magiging madali, may edge ka na sa kalaban mo. Pero depende pa rin sa amin. Pag pinaghirapan namin ang trabaho namin, magagawa namin yung goal namin."
The Philippines is slotted in Group C, where it will take on Argentina, Russia, and host Greece starting on June 29.