Kai Sotto won't play in FIBA Asia Cup, says Reyes

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2022 10:38 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2022 10:11 AM

Gilas center Kai Sotto. File photo. FIBA.basketball
Gilas center Kai Sotto. File photo. FIBA.basketball

MANILA - Filipino center Kai Sotto will not play in the FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia, Gilas Pilipinas program director and head coach Chot Reyes said Sunday.

Speaking after the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifying game between Gilas Pilipinas and India, Reyes ruled out Sotto's inclusion into the national team that will head to Indonesia next week. 

"Mukhang wala na," said Reyes. "He has decided to do some other things and forego the FIBA Asia Cup."

Sotto was not selected in the recent NBA Rookie Draft, and his agent later said that the young Filipino center intends to play for Gilas Pilipinas instead of going to the Summer League. Sotto later clarified, however, that his agent, Joel Bell, "misspoke" and that he has yet to make a decision regarding the NBA Summer League.

Reyes said they have communicated with Sotto's camp but admitted that it is highly unlikely that the center can make it.

"We're still hoping, but to be very honest, medyo malabo," the coach said.

Gilas Pilipinas played with just 10 men against India on Sunday night, and Reyes said that talks are on-going as to how they can beef up the team especially with the FIBA Asia Cup coming up on July 12. 

"There are a couple more we're looking at, Ray Parks, Thirdy Ravena, we're seeing if we can get another big," said Reyes. "What the team needs is another big. You can't have Geo Chiu as the only center."

One option for the national team is to call up players from Reyes' TNT squad, which will finish its campaign in the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup on July 10. Reyes acknowledged that they wanted to call up Troy Rosario, but the veteran is currently dealing with a knee injury.

Other big men in the TNT roster include Poy Erram and Kelly Williams, both of whom played in the February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

"That's a problem that we have to take into account, what the team needs," said Reyes. "'Yun ang continuously na pinaguusapan natin."