MANILA, Philippines—Kai Sotto joining Gilas Pilipinas for the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup remains “an aspiration” for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as the tournament draws nearer.
Having the young center play in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, though, seems a more viable option according to Ryan Gregorio, the special assistant to the president of SBP.
“Is he gonna make it to Clark? That’s an aspiration at this point so we’ll see,” said Gregorio in an interview with Inquirer’s SportsIQ.
“It’s tough because of the quarantine period but the OQT is a better possibility because there’s a little more time to prepare, especially building chemistry and understanding offensive concepts and also defensive schemes.”
Sotto is serving his mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving from the United States and that leaves him with barely enough time to join Gilas Pilipinas for its first game of the Asia Cup Qualifiers on June 16 in Clark, Pampanga.
The OQT, meanwhile, will start on June 29 in Belgrade, Serbia with the Philippines playing its first match on the 30th against the host nation.
There’s also the issue of integrating Sotto into the team’s system, which could be an issue since the 7-foot-3 center has yet to play for Gilas let alone practice extensively.
But having Sotto in the country is a big help for Gilas Pilipinas in any way, shape, or form.
“But it’s very much welcome because Kai is already in town and we appreciate his gesture to make himself present and available always,” said Gregorio.
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