Kai could be late addition to Gilas for fifth window
Gilas Pilipinas could have a complete roster three days before clashing with Jordan in another Fiba World Cup Qualifying windown in Amman on Nov. 10, and that roster could include the 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto.
But a lot of that will be contingent on certain conditions, some of which are all too familiar to the national cage program.
“We are not making any announcements on Kai until he has his Jordanian visa,” national coach Chot Reyes said in a web-radio show hosted by Philippine Sports Commissioner chair Noli Eala on Saturday.
“And if that happens, his last game (with Adelaide) is Nov. 6 and he’s flying straight to Jordan where we’ll finally be complete,” he added.
That means Gilas, whose other members will fly to Jordan on Nov. 7, will just have about three days to train as a complete bunch before it takes on the hosts midnight of Nov. 11 (Manila time) .
Sotto, who played alongside Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson in the last window of the Qualifiers back in August, was thrust back into the spotlight as Gilas continues to utilize the Qualifiers as a means to determine the best combination of players for the World Cup itself here in August next year.
No triple towers
Reyes said he was raring to test drive a crew that will feature Sotto, June Mar Fajardo and naturalized big man Ange Kouame.
“Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen now because we have the reality of injuries,” he said. “Those little things that we haven’t had the opportunity or chance to try ever in the past—that’s where value is in these (Fiba) windows.”
Fajardo, the six-time Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player and two-time World Cup veteran, is currently recuperating from a procedure to repair a throat injury he sustained during San Miguel’s clash with Rain or Shine earlier this month.
Reyes is hoping that the regular Monday practices would help Gilas’ cause during this fifth window, which includes a rematch against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Nov. 13 (midnight Nov. 14).
“I really like the enthusiasm and dedication (of the players) to our Monday practices. There’s value in those practices. We were able to lay things down through it,” Reyes said.
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