The much anticipated debut of Kai Sotto representing Gilas Pilipinas could be just days away in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. It will be up to Coach Tab Baldwin and his crew to evaluate if the former Ateneo high school standout is in good condition to join the team.
But so far, so good.
Sotto arrived with Gilas Pilipinas in Clark, Pampanga and he has been welcomed by his teammates with open arms.
“It's been really, really good to know the guys in this team,” he said.
“They are very fun guys to be with all along the court. Most of them nakasama ko na sila before, and just to see everybody na maglalaro na sa men's basketball team is just a really good feeling para sa amin.”
“For me, I don't really find anything hard to learn. That's one of my strengths: being a fast learner, very fast to adjust,” Sotto said.
“It took me just a couple of days to learn Coach Tab's system, plays, defensive schemes, and everything. It's been easier because Coach Sandy was also by my side during those practices helping me and telling me what I should and should not do. It's been really good.”
The new Gilas Pilipinas team captain Isaac Go has been helpful to ease Sotto’s to the team and to the system as well.
“George Isaac Go has been a really good teammate, player, and captain,” Sotto praised.
“He's a really good leader. He leads by example. He's not the most vocal, but when he talks, he means something good. I'm very lucky to be on the same team with Isaac Go.”
Furthermore, with Angelo Kouame being the naturalized player for the team, Sotto is excited to form chemistry with his new teammate and fellow big men for years to come.
“It's so exciting just to imagine that I can share the court with him,” said Sotto.
“Other than Ange, there's also a lot of really good tall players in Geo Chiu, Carl Tamayo, AJ Edu, which is not here. I'm so excited to play with him again. It's just a lot of good young talent in this team.”
Gilas Pilipinas opens this FIBA Asia Qualifier window with a match against rival South Korea on June 18 followed by Indonesia on the 20th. They will cap off the week with a rematch with South Korea on the 20th.