Kai Sotto finally back home, set for Gilas bubble
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto is finally back home.
The Filipino NBA prospect arrived in the Philippines Tuesday night and is expected to make his Gilas Pilipinas Men’s debut in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers this month in Doha, Qatar.
“Facts: Day 33 of 365 🇵🇭🙏🏼♥️,” Sotto wrote on his Instagram, posting a photo of himself exiting Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
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Sotto, 18, will join the national team pool bubble training at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna after a mandatory five to seven day quarantine.
But while there’s no denying the hype ahead of his debut, Sotto will have a lot of catching up to do with only a couple of weeks or so left before the qualifiers.
“The sooner he can really come in, the better for him. Because he needs to understand the system that they’re trying to play and run,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Panlilio on Tuesday during the PSA Forum.
“And also, you know, in basketball you need to develop chemistry with your teammates and you only do that if you’re able to practice with them,” he added.
The 7-foot-3 center has spent the last couple of years honing his basketball skills in the US. He is currently signed with NBA G League team Ignite along with other top US prospects including Fil-American Jalen Green.
Panlilio, though, reminded everyone to temper their expectations as Sotto is still in the middle of his “development.”
“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.”