Kai Sotto: Gilas Youth no pushover vs powerhouses in Fiba U-19 World Cup
MANILA, Philippines—Slotted with heavyweights, the Philippines will be heavy underdogs in the Fiba Under-19 World Cup later this month in Heraklion, Greece.
Gilas Pilipinas Youth is in Group C with host Greece, Argentina and Russia but despite the daunting task, the team remains unfazed.
“Sa tingin ko magiging challenging kasi nakita ko kung gaano ka-skilled and kung gaano kagaling yung mga teams na makakalaban namin,” said Kai Sotto, who will banner the Philippines’ campaign, after Tuesday’s practice at Meralco Gym. “Lahat naman ng teams sa [World Cup] mahirap kalabanin kasi hindi ka makakarating doon na tsamba tsamba lang.”
(It’s going to be challenging because I saw how skilled and how good the teams we will be facing are. All of the teams in the World Cup are going to be hard to beat because you won’t make the World Cup by just being lucky.)
“Ang iisipin lang namin is nakarating kami doon hindi dahil sa parang saling kitkit lang and pinaghirapan namin yung spot na yon kaya lalaban pa rin kami lagi,” Sotto added.
(What we need to keep in mind is that we made the World Cup because we deserve to be there and we earned our spot that’s why we’re going to fight every time.)
The 7-foot-2 Sotto and 6-foot-10 AJ Edu look to pick up where they left off when they led the Philippines to a fourth-place finish in the Fiba Under-18 Asian Championship last year.
“It was really good last year and we’ve only gotten better. He was in America for a bit, I was in America and we’re just gonna bring all the skills that what we learned into this tournament,” said Edu, who averaged 14.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in the Asian Championship.
Gilas Youth opens the tournament against Greece on June 29.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.