Filipino basketball prodigy Kai Sotto is ready to hang with the big boys now as he announced that he would be joining the Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team.
The 7-foot-2 wunderkind made the announcement in a short video that was shown during the FIBA Smart Global Press Conference on Thursday.
"I will be joining the national team. I am excited. I hope we bring our best. This is very special for all of us," said Sotto in the video.
The 18-year old is currently in the United States, playing for the G League’s Ignite team as he prepares for the next NBA Draft. Sotto’s availability for the Gilas will be a big boost to a team that is looking to stay perfect in the third and final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February of next year.
The Gilas are slated to compete against Indonesia and longtime rivals, South Korea. The team currently has a perfect 3-0 (win-loss) record in Group A of the competition.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director Tab Baldwin, though, clarified that they are still having discussions regarding Sotto’s availability this February.
"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 discussons ongoing," shared Baldwin.
"Everybody is hopeful. We all can't wait to welcome Kai back to the Gilas fold and take the next step forward toward 2023 with him. I'm very excited to hear that he has a passion for it as well," Baldwin added. (JNP)