Kai Sotto heading back to Philippines for Gilas commitment

Kai Sotto heading back to Philippines for Gilas commitment

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino teen sensation Kai Sotto is set for homecoming anew in a bid to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas for a series of big tournaments starting this month.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said that the 7-foot-3 prodigy has already departed from the United States and is expected to land in the country Monday night.

His immediate availability for the Nationals in time for their first order of business in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, however, is still up in the air given the mandatory quarantine protocols he needs to clear upon arrival.

“We have to play it by ear. He has to go through quarantine as mandated by government. What is important is he is already in town. Schedule is very fluid,” Ryan Gregorio, special assistant to SBP president Al Panlilio, told The STAR.

Sotto at the earliest could complete quarantine on the second week of June, just days before the crucial third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on June 16-20.

Gilas begins its quest to seal a FIBA Asia Cup ticket against South Korea on June 16 and Indonesia on June 19. The Filipinos then take on the Koreans anew on June 20.

Though he may not be available right away for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Sotto is expected to be ready for the FIBA OQT in Belgrade, Serbia on June 29-July 4 and the FIBA Asia Cup proper in August in Jakarta as per his commitment.

He reaffirmed his duties for Gilas last April particularly for the FIBA OQT and the FIBA Asia Cup following a historic signing with Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia, which will not kick off until later this year.

Sotto, who just turned 19 last May 11, already went home last February only to return to US anyway following the postponement and venue change of the Asia Cup Qualifiers from Qatar to the Philippines.

Gilas is in the crucial stretch of its preparations under a bubble setup at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna for the said tournaments.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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