Panlilio: Kai Sotto future of PH basketball, but he's still developing | Inquirer Sports

Panlilio: Kai Sotto future of PH basketball, but he’s still developing

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 10:00 PM February 02, 2021
Kai Sotto Gilas Youth 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup

Kai Sotto. Photo from

MANILA, Philippines — Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio has no doubt that Kai Sotto’s game has progressed leaps and bounds since leaving for the United States to train two years ago.

Sotto is set to play for the Philippines this month in the third and final window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Doha, Qatar.


And while the anticipation and hype continue to build ahead of his Gilas Pilipinas Men’s debut, Panlilio reminded everyone to temper their expectations. After all, Sotto is only 18 years old.

“He’ll be a great addition. He’s improved a lot for sure, but you know he’s also just 18 years old if I remind everybody,” Panlilio said Tuesday during the PSA Forum.


“We can’t put too much pressure on him. He’s the future of Philippine basketball for sure, but he’s also developing as a player, as a person.”

The 7-foot-3 Sotto has made a lot of noise since moving to the US as he embarks on his journey to become the first full-blooded Filipino to make the NBA.

Sotto is signed with G League team Ignite along with other top young prospects in the US including Fil-American guard Jalen Green. Still, Sotto remains a work in progress.

“Long term in 2023 hopefully, he will be an important piece of that team in the World Cup that we’re hosting,” Panlilio said.

“So let’s be easy on him. Let’s not put too much pressure on him. He’s already pressured enough for sure. I think he’s pressuring himself to do well, all of us want to do well but let’s just support him in his journey,” he added.

Filipinos will finally get a good look at Sotto as Gilas plays fierce rival South Korea twice and Indonesia in the tournament.

Panlilio, though, would rather keep his expectations to a minimum.

“This window is not a measurement of where Kai Sotto will be and where is. But again, I see a big, bright future for Kai,” Panlilio said.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

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.

TAGS: 2021 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers, Al Panlilio, Gilas Pilipinas, Kai Sotto, SBP
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.