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Sotto likes sharing court with Edu, Kouame

The Gilas Pilipinas final 12 may be out of his control, but young slotman Kai Sotto admits that forming a front court combination with either AJ Edu or naturalized player Ange Kouame “allows him to play his game with confidence.”

“I like sharing the court with AJ. He's very competitive, and our game together is fun,” Sotto said during his recent guest appearance at the PlayitRightTV.

From left: Ange Kouame, Kai Sotto and AJ Edu FIBA PHOTOS
From left: Ange Kouame, Kai Sotto and AJ Edu FIBA PHOTOS

The 7-foot-3 Sotto singled out Edu as one of his “favorite teammates,” and shared how bad he felt when the Fil-Nigerian sustained z torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear and a torn meniscus on his right knee early in the Gilas Youth Under-19 World Cup campaign.

He tore the same meniscus in December 2020, and suffered a torn left ACL in practice seven months later.

“AJ Edu by far, is one of my top favorite teammates in all the teams I played in. I love AJ as a person, and as a player, we know how good he is,” he said. “I can't wait to see him since (we played in) the last (FIBA) World Cup (in 2019). It was pretty unfortunate what happened to him with all these injuries, but I believe he's learned a lot.”

Edu and Sotto teamed up during in the 2018 FIBA Asia Under-18 where the Philippines placed fourth after bowing to China in the battle for bronze.

On the other hand, Sotto sees him Kouame as someone, who allows him to play his game in the paint.

“I shared the court with Ange during my first time when I played in the (Philippine) men's national team,” recalled the 21-year-old Sotto. “I love playing with Ange because he gives me more confidence to play my game because we have another big on the court.”

Sotto, Edu and Kouame are all part of the 21-man Gilas pool that is preparing for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the Philippines is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.

Kouame, along with Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee are classified as naturalized players, but only one will make the cut as per FIBA rules.

Sotto said playing alongside Brownlee or Clarkson offer a different look for him and Gilas, though both naturalized players deliver just the same.

He went on to share that in the many conversations he's had with his father Ervin, a former PBA player, they consider Brownlee as the “Michael Jordan of the PBA.”

“Justin, I haven't shared court with but I know lot of his game. Growing up, I watched him in PBA

And me and my dad, we always say he's the Michael Jordan of the PBA, which I believe,” he stressed. “It would be a good experience to play with him.”

“And we all know who Jordan Clarkson is. He's just in a different level; and whoever (among the naturalised players) would be on the national team, I would be glad to share the court with him.”

Sotto is slated to join his third and final mini camp with the New York Knicks this coming week.

He already joined the mini camps of the Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks in recent weeks.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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