Gilas Pilipinas: Kai Sotto in Clark, but unsure of playing in FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers – report

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Young Filipino center Kai Sotto is part of the Gilas Pilipinas contingent that arrived Sunday at the Clark bubble ahead of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers third window to be played here starting on June 16.

However, according to an ESPN5 report by Philip Matel, Sotto’s availability for the three Gilas contests is still uncertain.

Kai Sotto [FIBA.com photo]
FIBA.basketball photo

This is inspite of the 7-foot-4 center being able to finish the quarantine period after his arrival in the country two weeks earlier.

Per ESPN5:

The fully-vaccinated Sotto finished his government-mandated 14-day quarantine on Sunday, and was one of the 15 Gilas cadets who checked into the Clark bubble on Sunday afternoon.

Sotto, according to SBP Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio, tested negative in every swab test he underwent, but does not mean that he will be able to play on Wednesday against South Korea, on Friday against Indonesia, or Sunday against the Koreans once again.

“He is still evaluated in terms of match fitness, based on my discussion with coach Tab Baldwin. We want to make sure that we are not compromising his health,” said Gregorio during a virtual press conference.

Gilas is set to face Korea twice, on June 16 and June 20. They will also face Indonesia on June 18.

The Philippines holds a 3-0 record in their group, where the top two advance outright to the FIBA Asia Cup tournament proper to be held in Indonesia later this year.

Bannering the nationals are naturalized big man Angelo Kouame, cadets like Matt and Mike Nieto, Dwight Ramos, Jordan Heading, and more.

Should Sotto be able to suit up, he will be a good boost to the Gilas frontline for head coach Tab Baldwin.

The 19-year-old NBA prospect has not seen action locally since flying overseas to pursue his dream.

Levi Verora