Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao said he was impressed with Kai Sotto's progress while the latter was playing for the national team in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Compared to the younger Sotto he saw practicing with the NELX Road Warriors back then, the cager has become more confident with his skills.
“Number one, I think he’s a lot stronger. He’s a lot stronger now. He’s put on some weight, some muscle,” Guiao said in a recent interview on The Gilas Zone.
Sotto skirmished with Ricardo Ratliffe at the post when Gilas fought South Korea and the NLEX coach said Sotto was able to hold his own against the former PBA import.
“I know how hard Ratliffe defends at the low post. He’s a strong guy, he’s a heavy guy, he’s had experience playing against the best big men in the world. And I think Kai Sotto has been able to put a move or two on him,” Guiao said.
“To me, that’s a good sign. He’s also not afraid of being physical, getting physical with the best big guys Korea can offer. So to me, that’s an improvement.”
“He’s stronger. He’s heavier. He’s got more bulk. He’s got more muscle.”
Guiao said Sotto was able to perform despite a just couple of days' practices heading to the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
"We must remember he's been able to practice with Gilas for only a couple of days. Not enough for coach Tab and for the whole team to be able to get most out of what he can offer," said Guiao. "Imagine Kai Sotto having several more weeks to practice with this team."
This is why Guiao is excited to see Sotto perform against the Serbians and big men of the Dominican Republic in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
"I'm really upbeat with the future of Kai," he said.