By Adrian Stewart Co
Despite arriving in the country last Monday, there is no assurance that Filipino center Kai Sotto will suit up for the Gilas Pilipinas in the third and final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers slated from June 16 to 20 in Clark, Pampanga.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio said the 7-foot-3 Sotto is questionable for the qualifiers owing to the country’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“He has to go through quarantine as mandated by the government,” Gregorio said in an interview with Spin.ph on Monday. “We have to play it by the ear.”
According to Gregorio, Sotto is mandated to register a negative RT-PCR test and undergo a 14-day quarantine before being cleared to join the national men’s basketball team.
The Joseph Uichico-mentored Gilas Pilipinas will have three games scheduled in the Clark, Pampanga bubble—against South Korea on June 16 and 20 and Indonesia on June 18.
The national men’s basketball team currently has 3-0 win-loss record in the Pool C and will need at least a victory in their last three matches to secure their seat in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.
After the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier, Gilas Pilipinas will participate in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade this July, where Sotto is sure to suit up for the national squad.
“What’s important is he is already in town. His schedule is still very much fluid,” Gregorio said. “He can join the team practices in June in time for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.”/ASC, WDJ