MANILA – Kai Sotto confirmed early Thursday that he will not be with Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup.
In a statement on his Facebook page, the seven-foot-three center said he has to honor his commitment with the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL).
“The SBP and my EWP team have been trying to figure out what is the best balance for the team and my personal development. And for a while, I was really hoping that I would be able to join my teammates in Indonesia. But as you all know, I already committed to join the NBL starting the 2021-2022 season and I will be in Adelaide on Aug. 1 to start my two-week quarantine, get settled, and start preparing for preseason activities,” Sotto said.
He added that joining Australia’s top-tier cagefest is vital for honing his skills.
“Playing in the NBL is a crucial step in my basketball journey and now that I have fulfilled my qualifier window and OQT commitments to the national team, I want to focus on playing well for the Adelaide 36ers and focus 1,000 percent on giving the 36ers all my best,” Sotto said.
He said, “Babalik ho ako sa Gilas na mas malakas at mas maraming natutunan sa aking paglalaro sa Australia (I will return to Gilas stronger and with more lessons learned from my playing experience in Australia).”
Sotto expressed his support for Gilas for both the Jordanian tournament, known as the King Abdullah Cup, and the FIBA Asia Cup.
“Ipagdadasal ko po ang mga kasamahan ko para sa (I will pray for my teammates for the) Asia Cup and I will be one of their loudest fans!,” he said.
Even without Sotto, Gilas’ frontline remains solid with naturalized big Ange Kouame, 2019 top PBA Draft pick Isaac Go, 2021 Gilas Draft selection Tzaddy Rangel, and high school standout Geo Chiu manning the center spots in the national team’s current pool for the King Abdullah Cup and the FIBA Asia Cup. (PNA)