Kai Sotto bound to dominate Asia, believes Gilas coach Tim Cone

Kai Sotto bound to dominate Asia, believes Gilas coach Tim Cone

/ 06:02 PM February 27, 2024

What’s next for Gilas after Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers first window

Gilas Pilipinas' Kai Sotto Fiba Asia Cup

Gilas Pilipinas’ Kai Sotto in the Filipinos’ game against Chinese Taipei in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Asia has been host to some of the most stellar players in the international Fiba stage.

Iran boasted Hamed Haddadi, China had Yi Jianlian and the Gilas Pilipinas for a time the rode the heroics of Jayson Castro–Asia’s best point guard for two straight Fiba Asia Championships– to capture some of the country’s biggest wins on the global stage—including breaking the “Korean curse” in 2013.

In the modern era, national team coach Tim Cone has a name in mind whom he said will take Asian basketball by storm for years to come.

READ: Kai Sotto brimming with confidence heading into latest Gilas foray

Kai Sotto, the young Philippine basketball sensation who willed Gilas Pilipinas to a 106-53 win over Chinese Taipei on Sunday, is next.

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“He is going to absolutely dominate Asia,” said Cone at Philsports Arena after an absolute masterclass over the Chinese in front of a rowdy Philippine home crowd.

“I’ve always felt that [of Kai Sotto]. If you get him in the right spots, he can absolutely dominate Asia.”

Sotto seemingly has found those right spots for Gilas in the first window of the 2025 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers.

READ: Kai Sotto sees playing against NBA players during Fiba World Cup as a ‘blessing’

After averaging just six points and four rebounds in the 2023 Fiba World Cup–his last stint with Gilas before this window–the 21-year-old Filipino dominated with averages of 15.5 points and 12.5 boards in two wins under Cone.

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But it’s not just with Gilas where Sotto’s making waves. In the Japanese B.League, the Ateneo product is averaging 9.3 points and 5.1 rebounds with the Yokohama B-Corsairs in the Japanese B.League.

But all that is just a young kid scratching the surface, according to Cone.

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In fact, Cone was confident enough to say that the national team may miss Sotto in future games for one specific reason–because he might be to the NBA.

“There may be a time where we might lose Kai, he may not be able to join windows because he might be in the NBA. And we’ll be very, very proud of that.”

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TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Kai Sotto

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