NBA prospect Kai Sotto arrived in the country on Tuesday night as he tries to help the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team in their stint in the third and final leg of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Doha, Qatar next month.
Joined by his father, former PBA player Ervin Sotto, the 7-foot-3 youngster arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 10 p.m. and will start serving his five-day quarantine period before he can join the Gilas for their training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
This marks the first time Sotto has been home since he decided to take his talents to the United States to train in the hopes of becoming the very first full-blooded Filipino to make it to the NBA.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio acknowledged that Sotto is indeed the future of Philippine basketball but still recognizes the fact that the latter is still 18-years of age.
"He'll be a great addition. He's improved a lot for sure. But he's only 18 years old. We can't put too much pressure on him," Panlilio said during his appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"He's the future of Philippine basketball, for sure, but he's also developing as a player as a person," he added.
Gilas has three upcoming games in the qualifiers, two of which will be against longtime rivals South Korea. The other game will be against Indonesia. The Gilas need only one more win to book their place in the FIBA Asia Cup tournament this August in Jakarta, Indonesia. (JNP)