Kai Sotto excited to play with Gilas’ naturalized player Kouame
MANILA, Philippines — While Filipino basketball fans can’t wait to see Kai Sotto make his debut for the Philippine men’s national team, he too has a lot of reasons to be excited.
Among the things that Sotto raring for is to finally share the court with his teammates, particularly Angelo Kouame.
Sotto arrived in Manila late Monday night hoping to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas as early as the final window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup in Clark exactly two weeks from now.
“Of course, I’m excited,” Sotto told Lyn Olavario of News5 in Filipino upon his arrival. “I’m very excited because it’s my first time to play for the [men’s] national team.”
“I can’t wait to join the team.”
With Sotto in tow, Gilas is hoping to form an intriguing frontcourt tandem featuring the 18-year-old big man and the 6-foot-10 Angelo Kouame.
The Ivory Coast-born Kouame was officially granted Filipino citizenship last month.
“I’m very happy that Ange is already naturalized. I’m happy for him because I know how much he wants it.”
“I’m excited to share the court with him.”
Despite the optimism, it’s still unclear whether Sotto will be able to suit up in the Clark qualifiers as he still completing quarantine protocols.
If Sotto fails to compete in the qualifiers, set from June 16-20, he could still play for Gilas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia scheduled from June 29 to July 4.
Regardless of his status, Sotto vowed to remain prepared.
“Whatever happens, I am still ready to play whenever especially that I’m here in the Philippines.”