Kai Sotto doing 'some NBA things' prior to joining Gilas, says Cone

kai sotto doing 'some nba things' prior to joining gilas, says cone

Kai Sotto doing 'some NBA things' prior to joining Gilas, says Cone

GILAS Pilipinas coach Tim Cone said Kai Sotto will be arriving in Manila in the middle of June to join the national team’s preparation for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

But first, Cone said Sotto will be working on his skills in the US at the conclusion of his maiden season with the Yokohama B-Crosairs in the Japan B.League.

"He is actually, I think, right now, in an NBA camp," Cone revealed in an interview with Carlo Pamintuan posted in Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' social media accounts. "He is going to the States doing some NBA things as we speak and he will be back on the 16th or 17th of June to join us on the 21st."

READ AJ Edu on target to rejoin Gilas in Fiba Olympic qualifiers

June 21 is Gilas’ first day of practice in preparation for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be played in Riga, Latvia from July 2 to 7.

Cone said Sotto’s schedule is a testament to his desire to improve his skills in the hope of reaching the NBA someday.

"The kid is working and doing his job," said Cone.

The 21-year-old Sotto is one of the main pieces of the Gilas Pilipinas’ four-year program under Cone. He had a good showing in the first window of the Fiba Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers, averaging 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks.

Sotto will be tested when he goes up against the world’s best in the OQT, beginning with Latvia and Georgia in the group stage.

But Cone is confident that Sotto can hold his own against his counterparts with teams expected to field Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) and Orlando Magic player Goga Bidatze (Georgia) for the QQT.

kai sotto doing 'some nba things' prior to joining gilas, says cone

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For that, Cone said Sotto will definitely play an integral role if Gilas Pilipinas is to make it past the group stage where either Brazil, Cameron, and Montenegro await.

"He does lack a little bit of strength in terms of fighting for position and I think it will come with age. He is only 21 years. The sky is the limit," said Cone.

"He played against big, strong guys in Australia. He plays against imports in Japan. It’s not a stretch for him to go out and play against bigger, European players," said Cone.

'Pressure on Kai'

"But I think in the competitive level that we are going to be at, the pressure is going to be on him to perform because he is going to be the main guy or one of the main guys, if not the main guy on our team. That’s going to grow him.

"He is going to evolve and get better and that’s the whole point of doing this over four years," said Cone.

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