Kai Sotto: I never said no to representing Gilas Pilipinas
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto said that he never said no to playing for Gilas Pilipinas, addressing the rumors about his uncertainty in the Fiba World Cup 2023 in August.
The 7-foot-3 center told Noli Eala in an episode of Power and Play that he remains committed to the Philippine men’s basketball team program, amid the speculations of him missing the upcoming World Cup.
“First of all, I never said no to represent my country. I’ve been playing for my country ever since I was fourteen years old,” Sotto said in a clip posted by Eala. “I don’t get about what other people say about me not wanting to join. I’m not trying to listen to it…”
Kai Sorto declares: “I never said no to playing for my country cause thats my dream ever since I started playing basketball.” Catch his full and exclusive interview together with his agent Tony Ronzone of Wasserman Media Group this Saturday on Power&Play. pic.twitter.com/75dwoDONbe
— Noli Eala (@NoliEala) June 4, 2023
Sotto missed the final window of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers last February and the 32nd Southeast Asian Games. He last played for the national team during the November window.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has been putting a premium on the commitment and availability of his players in the team’s build-up for its historic hosting of the World Cup in August.
The 20-year-old big man is set was reportedly participated in a series of camps with the Utah Jazz as he will play in the NBA Summer League in July.
Despite chasing his NBA dream, Sotto expressed his desire to continue playing for the country.
“I never said no to playing for my country because that’s my dream ever since I started playing basketball,” he said. “My top two dreams: make it to the NBA and represent the national team.”
The full interview of Eala with Sotto and his agent Tony Ronzone of the sports agency Wasserman will be aired next Saturday.
Sotto went to Japan, playing for the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the B.League after two seasons with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League.
He signed a fresh contract with Hiroshima for the 2023-24 B.League but the club has the option to cancel his contract if he fulfills his ultimate goal: becoming the first Filipino homegrown player to sign with an NBA team.