MANILA – Kai Sotto has been cleared to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio announced on Tuesday that the seven-foot-three beanpole would play for Gilas after Sotto’s camp and the federation’s medical team reached an agreement.
“The doctors of Kai and the SBP doctor, Dr. Randy Molo, spoke yesterday, and he’s been cleared to play. That’s good news,” Panlilio said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Meralco Gym in Pasig.
He then said the doctors decided to meet instead of asking for a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of Sotto’s back injury, which he suffered during the NBA Summer League for the Orlando Magic.
The MRI result was reportedly a prerequisite for the SBP for Sotto to play.
“We didn’t see any MRI results. What we wanted to do to put closure, really move forward, and just focus on the games, is really our doctors met,” Panlilio added
The next step now, he said, is to make Sotto available for Gilas’ upcoming tune-up games against Ivory Coast, Montenegro and Mexico.
Gilas will play Ivory Coast on Friday, Montenegro on Sunday, and Mexico on Monday.
All games will be held behind closed doors at the nearby PhilSports Arena.
Sotto is expected to add ceiling to Gilas ahead of their FIBA World Cup opener against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Dominican Republic at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue on Aug. 25.
According to FIBA World Cup local organizing committee officer Erika Dy, about 28,000 tickets have already been sold for the game.
She also said they are on track to eclipsing the single-game record for a FIBA World Cup gate attendance of 32,616 set in the 1994 FIBA World Cup final in Toronto. (PNA)