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Kai Sotto reaffirms commitment for Gilas

(UPDATE) BY his own estimate, young Filipino slotman Kai Sotto believes he'll be ready to play for Gilas Pilipinas by the time the national team faces Montenegro and Mexico in a pair of tune-up matches, just days before the start of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Sotto revealed that since arriving in Manila two weeks ago, he has been religiously undergoing rehab on his back, which he hurt during his last game with the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League.

“I think the rehab is going well. My back is much better already compared to when I was still in the US,” Sotto said in an interview in the YouTube Sports Channel Playitright TV.


“I'm supposed to do 12 sessions, and I've already done six, so slowly but surely, I'm doing my rehab and then I'm also including some weights,” he added.

Given the progress of healing on his back injury, Sotto said in the next few days, he'll be ready to step back on the court and do some drills.

Sotto said he would have wanted to join Gilas, which is currently playing in the 2023 Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in Guangdong, China.

The Philippines split its first two matches, beating Iran's B Team, 76-65, on Thursday (August 3), before bowing to Senegal, 72-63, on Friday night (August 4).

But then again, the 21-year-old Sotto said skipping the China pocket tournament was the most logical thing to do as he tries to make sure his back gets completely healed, so he'll be ready for the World Cup.

“While there's still time before the first game, I'm just trying to maximize the days I have to make sure my back heals well so that when the World Cup comes, I'll be well,” he explained.

More importantly, the many-time member of the Philippine team stressed his commitment to play for the flag and country amid criticisms hurled at him by netizens.

“[Playing for the Philippines is] very important, [and] for me basketball-wise, I'm happiest when I play for the national team,” Sotto emphasized.

“I've proven that since I was 15 when I played for the Under-16, 17, 18 and 19 for the national team. And every time I put on the jersey for the Philippines, I feel so much fulfillment that's why every time I have a chance to put on that jersey, I'm always excited,” added Sotto, who won a gold for the Philippines in the SEABA U-16 championship.

Sotto's commitment to play for the Philippines could, hopefully, be a healing balm between him and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) amid the seeming failed discussions between the young big man's representatives and the SBP regarding his contract to play for the national team.

And like a true soldier, Sotto said he wouldn't mind what people say on various social media platforms, opting to focus on completely recovering from his back injury.

“For me, I just need more time to recover, to do more rehab on my back, and be ready physically and mentally for the World Cup,” Sotto said. “I'll not worry what people say, but I'll just focus on myself since I'll be the one playing.”

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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