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    Gilas eyeing Kai Sotto for Asiad, Fiba qualifier, not for SEA Games

    Apr 26, 2022
    Kai Sotto
    PHOTO: fiba.basketball

    NBA prospect Kai Sotto will not suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.

    Gilas team manager Butch Antonio clarified there are no plans to include the 7-foot-3 center in the SEA Games roster at the last minute especially with his NBL season with the Adelaide 36ers finally over.

    “No, there has not been any talk. As far as the SEA Games is concerned, no,” said Antonio on Tuesday during the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

    “But if he is a part of the big picture, of course he is.”

    Talks about Sotto’s possible stint in the biennial showcase where Gilas will defend the men’s basketball gold surfaced in light of big man Japeth Aguilar’s likely unavailability for the national team following the Grade 2 calf injury he suffered in the recent PBA Governors Cup playoffs.

    Gilas coach Chot Reyes has named a 16-man pool for the SEA Games team that included Aguilar, although Antonio said it hasn’t submitted yet its final 12-man lineup pending the health issue of Aguilar and the arrival of young guns Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos from their stint in the Japan B.League.

    Sotto though, is not part of the pool.

    The lanky Filipino center is also at a crossroads on whether to apply in the coming NBA Draft of play another season with the 36ers in the NBL.

    The Gilas team manager said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has asked the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to push back the submission of the final deadline to give them a little more time.


    “We just want to make sure of the final lineup,” he said. “Kaya ini-urong natin ang submission (final 12), kung kaya pa. We want to make sure. The Japan boys, we’re still waiting for them because their last game there is no May 8.”

    But definitely, the 12-man Gilas roster will be made before the team departs for Vietnam on May 13.

    As far as Sotto is concerned, Antonio said Gilas certainly eyes his services in one of the upcoming major tournaments from here on, including the second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

    “We still have to talk to his handlers, depende kung ano yung mga commitments ni Kai,” said the Gilas official. “Pero they know that we are interested with him (Sotto), and we are working with his schedule.

    “So schedule-permitting, in one of these tournaments, na naka-layout, hopefully masama natin si Kai,” Antonio added. “Over the new few months until November will be busy, sunud-sunod na yung tournaments.”

    The second Asia Oceania qualifier will be held in July, while the Asiad is set in September.

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    PHOTO: fiba.basketball
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