Kai Sotto always willing to play for Gilas Pilipinas

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2020 06:07 PM | Updated as of May 14 2020 07:54 PM

Kai Sotto assured that he is always willing to play for the Philippine national team, even after committing to play in the NBA G League.

The 18-year-old Sotto has been the anchor of Batang Gilas since making his youth team debut at the 2017 SEABA Under-16 Championships in Manila, where he led the team to a gold medal. Such is his potential that former Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao has suggested that he should be reserved a spot in the 2023 team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Speaking to reporters in a conference call after making his G League announcement, Sotto reaffirmed his commitment to the Philippine national team program.

"Lagi naman akong willing na i-represent 'yung bansa ko. Siyempre, 'yan 'yung mga dreams ko simula noong bata pa ako," said Sotto, who earned Mythical Team honors when he played for Batang Gilas in the 2018 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championships.

However, Sotto acknowledged that his responsibilities in the G League may create a conflict with his desire to play for the Philippines.

Sotto officially joined the NBA G League Select team on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), giving him access to topnotch coaching and competition that will hopefully prepare him for the NBA. He will be playing with other top prospects, including Fil-Am standout Jalen Green.

"Depende pa rin sa schedule and sa mga magiging plans ko sa G League," Sotto said. "It depends."

The G League has yet to release details about the new team that Sotto and Green will be playing for, including its schedule and full roster composition, as well as its coaching staff. However, Sotto is assured of opportunities that will "accelerate his on-court development as he learns NBA-style basketball," according to a statement from the league. 

Aside from playing in the regional and continental level, Sotto has also played for the Philippines in the 2018 Under-17 World Cup and the 2019 Under-19 World Cup.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).