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DOWN UNDER. The NBL has become a household name for Filipinos as 7-foot-3 big man Kai Sotto plays in Australia for the Adelaide 36ers.
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MANILA, Philippines – The possibility of Kai Sotto suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas is looking bleaker by the day.
Program director Chot Reyes said it is unlikely that the 7-foot-3 big man will see action in the continental showpiece as Sotto and his camp have yet to commit for the Asia Cup, which will come off the wraps on July 12 in Indonesia.
It has been more than a week since Reyes extended the Asia Cup invitation to Sotto, who recently went unselected in the NBA Draft.
“He has decided to do some other thing and forego the FIBA Asia Cup,” Reyes said in a mix of Filipino and English after the Philippines beat India by 16 points at home in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Sunday, July 3.
“We’re still hoping, but to be very honest, it is unlikely.”
Despite clobbering the Indians, the Filipinos are in dire need of size and inside presence as Geo Chiu is the only legitimate center on the team.
Gilas Pilipinas’ lack of big men got exposed against New Zealand as the Tall Blacks feasted on the Filipinos with 52 points in the paint en route to a 106-60 demolition earlier this week.
The addition of Sotto would have addressed that problem as he provides length, shot-blocking, and a vastly improved offensive game.
But it is still unknown whether Sotto would play in the NBA Summer League, return to the National Basketball League in Australia, or pursue a professional career elsewhere.
“They have not said no but they’re not saying yes. If it is not a yes, we already know what it is,” Reyes said.
Gilas Pilipinas will once again lock horns with New Zealand and India in the Asia Cup as they got bunched in Group D, which also features Lebanon. – Rappler.com
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Kai Sotto unlikely for FIBA Asia Cup, says Chot Reyes – Rappler
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