NBA G League’s Kai Sotto rejoins Gilas Pilipinas for FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

Kai Sotto rejoins Gilas Pilipinas
Kai Sotto (Center) says he is looking forward to joining his former teammates and the PBA players he idolized. Photo from Kai Sotto FB.

National Basketball Association (NBA) G-League team Ignite player Kai Sotto has announced he is rejoining Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

“I will be joining the national team. I am excited. I hope we bring our best. This is a very special moment for all of us,” Sotto announced in a video presented on December 17, 2020, during the virtual presser hosted by Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP).

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“I’m really looking forward to join my former teammates and the PBA players that I have idolized since then. Together with them, I hope we play our best to bring glory to our country,” added Sotto in the media conference which also announced the partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Philippines’ Smart telecommunications company for the hosting of the 2023 World Cup.

The 18-year-old MVP from the Ateneo Blue Eagles Juniors is currently training with the NBA G League for a shot at being the first Philippines-born athlete to join America’s league.

The 7-foot-2 athlete who played center for the UAAP Ateneo high school championship team had also previously represented the Philippines in various FIBA youth tournaments.

Gilas program director Tab Baldwin responded to Sotto’s announcement by saying he hopes the player can join the team for the February 2021 games.

“We like to think and we have every belief that will be for February but there still are discussions ongoing and everybody is hopeful. All the fans, the coaches, and the teammates can’t wait to welcome Kai back into the Gilas fold and take the next step forward toward 2023 with him and I’m very excited to learn that he has a passion for it as well,” shared Baldwin.

Kai Sotto rejoins Gilas Pilipinas
The Gilas Pilipinas squad for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. Photo from FIBA.

Gilas Pilipinas is currently first-ranked in Group A with a 3-0 record, leading teams from Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. The Philippine National Team first dominated Indonesia in Jakarta earlier in February 2020 and afterward had a two-game run against Thailand in Bahrain when the games resumed in November.

The Gilas dominance showcased the skills of the squad that includes University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons star players Kobe Paras, the Gomez de Liaño brothers, Juan and Javi, and Jaydee Tungcab, Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Dwight Ramos and Sean Dave Ildefonso, San Beda Red Lions’ Calvin John Oftana and Kemark Carino, Justine Baltazar (De La Salle University), and Philippine Basketball Association players Rey Anthony Suerte (Blackwater Elite) and George Isaac Go (Terra Firma Dyip).

The Philippines is hosting the February window for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga. Gilas Pilipinas will play against the South Koreans on February 18 and 22 and against Indonesia on Feb. 20.

After three windows, the Top two teams from each group will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021. The six third-placed teams will advance to play a final qualifying tournament in February 2021 and the Top four from this tournament will qualify for FIBA Asia Cup 2021.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the NBA G League’s Kai Sotto as he rejoins Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers 2021!

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