Schedule out for Fiba qualifiers in Pampanga; Sotto joining Gilas?
Gilas Pilipinas will be taking old tormentor Korea first when it plunges action in the third and final phase of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark Freeport in Pampanga this coming June.
And Kai Sotto, who had earlier said he would be joining the national team for the qualifier, could finally don the Gilas Pilipinas jersey to lead what will be a very young squad.
National team program director Tab Baldwin, however, said “boxes needed to be ticked” before Sotto can join the team, but with the schedule now revealed, the process of working arrangements can begin.
The Nationals are playing the visiting South Koreans on June 16 and again on June 19. Sandwiched is the June 20 match with Indonesia, which the Philippines utterly dominated in their meeting last year.
The Philippines, which leads Group A with a 3-0 record, will be needing to win just one more game to punch its ticket to the continental meet, which will be held in Indonesian capital of Jakarta in August.
Gilas, as previously announced by the national federation, will be sending an all-cadet squad. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is hoping to expose its younger players to as many international competitions as possible on the way to the Philippines’ cohosting of the Fiba World Cup in 2023.Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-3 teen prodigy who recently signed with Australian pro league club Adelaide 36ers, is eyeing to suit up for the Nationals in the qualifiers.
“I would like to announce also that I’m very excited and honored to be joining the Gilas National Team that will be playing this OQT (Olympic qualifying tournament) and Fiba Asia Cup,” Sotto said earlier this week during an online presser where he was unveiled as a Smart ambassador.
The schedule of the tournament, however, will still depend largely on the country’s pandemic situation, with the SBP noting it was ready for yet another postponement.
Jordan Heading, Jaydee Tungcab, Will Navarro and Tzaddy Rangel are the latest Philippine Basketball Association-bound talents loaned to the pool, backstopping the old pool led by Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, along with twins Mike and Matt Nieto. INQ