Kai Sotto officially announced in a virtual conference that he will be joining Gilas Pilipinas for the February window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers.

/ 19 December 2020

“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,” said Sotto during the presser announcing the partnership between FIBA and Smart. 

Sotto has been training with the NBA G League Ignite since August in California and has played two scrimmages against G League veterans in the past week.

And amid the NBA chase dream, the 7-foot-2 youngster decided to answer the call of SBP and Filipino fans rooting for his play to be used in the final leg of the FIBA 2021 Cup.

“I’m really looking forward na makasama ulit ang aking mga former teammates, and ng mga PBA players na iniidolo ko dati pa,” as he explained for his excitement.  

“Together with them, I hope we play our best and bring glory to our country,” he added.

On the other hand, former national coach Yeng Guiao also believed that Sotto would be a good gunner for Gilas after considering the combination play of the PBA veterans.

“And then nandyan si Kai Sotto, nandyan si AJ Edu. This is a combination of the veterans and the young guns. Pagsamahin mo sila June Mar [Fajardo], pagsamahin mo sila Japeth [Aguilar]. Naku, ang sarap nun…,” he propounded.

Yet Gilas Pilipinas Program Director Tab Baldwin affirmed that Sotto has all the privilege to decide in terms of his commitment to the national team. He also hopes that Gilas will be the “endgame” for Sotto.

“At this point, you’ve heard Kai and he said he’s going to be available. Obviously this is step one. We’d like to think that we have every belief that he would be there for February, but there are still discussions ongoing,” said Baldwin.

“We all can’t wait to welcome Kai back to the Gilas fold and take the next step forward toward 2023 with him.,”  Baldwin concluded.

If things will go as planned then Sotto will be able to join the Gilas training, together with the other high-upside prospect big men such as Justine Baltazar, Isaac Go, and Kemark Carino—all of whom bannered the flag in the second window in Bahrain.

Gilas is entering the third window of the qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga with a 3-0 win-loss record and is scheduled to battle against Korea and Indonesia.