Guiao on Kai Sotto: ‘He’s a fighter, he doesn’t get intimidated’
Kai Sotto finally suited up for the Philippine men’s basketball team when Gilas Pilipinas took on Lebanon in its final tune-up game ahead of the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The 16-year-old Sotto played briefly when he started the third quarter and scored two points on free throws and only had a lone attempt from the field but it was enough to make a good impression on his teammates and head coach Yeng Guiao.
The reed-thin center, who stands at 7-foot-2, took one shot when he tried to dunk on Lebanon’s ripped and bull-strong big man Ater Majok that ended with a defensive foul.
Sotto rued not making the two-handed dunk that would’ve sent the packed crowd at Meralco Gym into an uproar but he gave a glimpse of what kind of player he is.
“He actually tried to dunk on the big man of the other team so he’s a fighter for one thing and he doesn’t get intimidated,” Guiao said of Sotto.
“He’s good. I’m excited to see him improve. He’s good, you can’t say that he’s just tall,” veteran big man Beau Belga. “He’s tall, athletic and he has talent so he has everything and I think it’s up to him how he’ll be able to improve himself every single day.”
Sotto was far from satisfied with his showing and he knows he still has a ton of work to do to reach his potential.
“I need to be better at everything. My body needs to be stronger and faster because I’m not there yet at the top. My skills aren’t 100 percent yet and I need to work on everything,” Sotto said in Filipino.
At his age, he’s only scratching the surface.
“What he lacks is the maturity of his body. He’s not yet strong so perhaps when his body develops in one or two years, he will develop the strength together with the quickness,” Guiao said.
Sotto was the only high school player included in Guiao’s 20-man pool for the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The Ateneo star missed the team’s first few practices and first three scrimmages to prioritize his studies.
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