FIBA WORLD CUP: Guiao wants to test "big boy" Kai against Gilas' "old boys"

Paul Lintag on Nov 08, 2018 05:49 PM
FIBA WORLD CUP: Guiao wants to test
Young Kai Sotto was easily the most surprising name in head coach Yeng Guiao's lineup announced Tuesday and while the 7'2" high school phenom is a long shot to make the final 12, it wouldn't hurt for him to be included in the senior team as early as now.

In a loaded 20-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the new FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers window, one name stood out the most.

Young Kai Sotto was easily the most surprising name in head coach Yeng Guiao's lineup announced Tuesday and while the 7'2" high school phenom is a long shot to make the final 12, it wouldn't hurt for him to be included in the senior team as early as now.

Former head coach Chot Reyes actually teased about the possibility of Kai joining the senior team as early as 2017 but this year, it's no longer just a possibility.

[Related: Chot considered including Kai Sotto to Gilas' SEA Games lineup]

It's happening.

"With Kai kasi, we have nothing to lose [and] we have everything to gain," Guiao said on why he included Sotto in his new pool that also includes June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Christian Standhardinger, and Japeth Aguilar.

"I'd like to see him play against the big boys and be able to accelerate his development. Who knows? Baka gulatin tao, baka makakuha siya ng spot sa top 12," he added.

As the undisputed future of Philippine basketball, many are clamoring for Kai to improve his competition.

The junior ranks in the Philippines are not exactly challenging for Sotto. At 7'2" and still growing, no one can match up to Kai's size and improving skill set.

[Related: FIBA WORLD CUP: Castro and Tenorio make Gilas return in new 20-man pool]

With plans to train abroad shelved for the moment, joining the senior team of Gilas Pilipinas is the next best thing for the Ateneo star.

"I think Kai is our future, and we're just trying to make use of the opportunity for him to be developed and be able to upgrade the competition he's been playing in kasi dominado niya masyado yung high school, dominado niya rin yung Under-18, so now maybe it's time for him to try the big boys," Guiao said of Kai.

"Or the old bots kasi big boy din siya," he added.

 


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