MANILA, Philippines– All eyes will be on Kai Sotto when he joins the Philippine national team for the 3rd and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers that will be kept in Doha, Qatar later on this month.

It will be a chance for Filipinos to see how much Sotto has enhanced because he left for the United States in March 2019 to chase his imagine playing in the NBA.

It also marks the very first time that Sotto will play for the Gilas Pilipinas guys’s group, after a fantastic stint in the nation’s youth program. Sotto played for the Gilas Pilipinas Youth in numerous global events, most recently in the FIBA Under-18 World Cup 2019 in Greece.

The head of the country’s basketball federation is asking for Filipino fans to show patience, nevertheless, even as he acknowledged that Sotto will be a huge increase to Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming qualifiers.

” He’ll be a great addition,” said Al Panlilio, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, of Sotto during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Online forum on Tuesday early morning. “He’s improved a lot, for sure. I’ve gotten that word.”

Over the previous few months, Sotto received superior training as part of Team Ignite, the group of potential customers who decided to take the G League path to the NBA, instead of going to college. There, Sotto was coached by long time NBA gamer and coach Brian Shaw, and got to play with leading recruits like Filipino-American guard Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga– both of whom are projected as lottery game picks in the 2021 NBA Novice Draft.

Shaw has actually spoken extremely of Sotto’s improvement, admiring the defensive effect the Filipino teen has actually made for Ignite throughout their scrimmages versus G League veterans.

READ: Kai Sotto ratings 5 points in Group Ignite’s loss to G-League veterans READ: Sotto ‘getting stronger,’ making an effect defensively for Team Ignite

While Panlilio comprehends that the buzz for Sotto is inevitable, he likewise worried that the young center is still a developing gamer.

” He’s simply 18 years old,” stated Panlilio. “To remind everybody, he’s just 18. So we can’t also put too much pressure on him.”

” He’s the future of Philippine basketball, for sure, but he’s likewise developing as a gamer, as a person,” he included. “Easy lang tayo sa kanya. Let’s not put too much pressure on him.”

Panlilio thinks that Sotto is currently putting a lot of pressure on himself. The 18-year-old has made no trick of his desire to be the first homegrown Filipino to be drafted in the NBA, and has countless Filipinos following his every relocation as he pursues his dream.

The SBP manager stated that rather than stack on the pressure on Sotto, the teen should rather be supported.

” He’s already pushed enough,” Panlilio stated. “I think he’s pressuring himself to do well, he wishes to succeed, everybody desire him to do well. However, let’s simply support him in his journey.”

” This window is not a measurement of where Kai Sotto will be or is,” he stressed. “But truly, once again, I see a big, bright and huge future for Kai.”

Sotto is set to get here in Manila on Tuesday, after leaving Team Ignite’s bubble in Walnut Creek, California. He will join Gilas Pilipinas in its training school at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna once he clears quarantine.

From there, Sotto will have about a week to experiment the nationwide group before they fly to Doha, where the third and last window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers will be kept in another bubble. Gilas Pilipinas leads Group A with a 3-0 win-loss record, with 2 games versus South Korea and one versus Indonesia on the horizon.

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