By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team is going all out this coming FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) announced Kai Sotto’s arrival.
Sotto will be making his highly-anticipated return to the national team after more than a year of absence for Gilas Pilipinas.
The seven-foot-three center last saw action for the national team when the young cadets of Gilas marched to battle during the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Despite failing to punch a ticket to the Olympics, Sotto and the Tab Baldwin-led crew impressed on the international stage and almost upset Serbia, 83-76.
The SBP also confirmed that Sotto will be arriving from Australia on August 18, 2022 and will join the Gilas practice session a week before challenging Lebanon on August 25 and Saudi Arabia on August 29.
“We are glad to have Kai into the Gilas fold and thank him for his proactive response to the call to play for flag and country for the August qualifiers,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.
Sotto’s inclusion in the final playing pool for the FIBA World Cup August window will be an added boost to Gilas and will backstop NBA star Jordan Clarkson who is also available to play.
The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year last played for Gilas during the 2018 edition of the Asian Games and helped PHL end their campaign with a fifth-place finish.
Clarkson and the Yeng Guiao-led squad closed out their outing on a high note after demolishing Syria, 109-55, and became their best finish in the Asian Games since 2002.
After failing to pursue his NBA dream, Sotto is currently back with the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball League.