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'Fast learner' Kai Sotto says Tab Baldwin's system not 'hard to learn'

Kai Sotto is seen here guarding former high school teammate Geo Chiu in one offensive drill. SBP/FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—He only had few days to get a full grasp at how Coach Tab Baldwin maps out his plays, but Kai Sotto believes he has learned a lot from him already.

During the media day of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers Clark bubble on Monday at the Quest Hotel in the said business district spanning through the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat, the incoming Adelaide beanpole, who clarified recent reports by saying he is still 7'3", said that he is crediting the adjustments to him being a "fast learner."

"That's one of my strengths," Sotto said. "[I'm] very fast to adjust."

However, he also believes that even those who are not that fast to learn can quickly adapt to Baldwin's system.

"For me, I don't really find anything hard to learn," Sotto quipped.

He even said, "It took me just a couple of days to learn Coach Tab's system, plays, defensive schemes, and everything."

Training in the United States while waiting for the Australian NBL season to start, Sotto arrived in the Philippines on May 31 as he answers the call to join Gilas Pilipinas for the ACQ third window.

However, due to a recent tweak on the COVID-19 protocols for people arriving from other countries, Sotto had to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, leaving him only a short window to learn Baldwin's system in the flesh, although he had been attending Zoom sessions during the quarantine period.

Good thing for Sotto, Coach Sandy Arespacochaga, his coach with the under-19 team, is also part of Baldwin's coaching staff.

"It's been easier because Coach Sandy was also by my side during those practices helping me and telling me what I should and should not do," Sotto further said.

Later in the night, Sotto was present during Gilas' first physical practice inside the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center, the main battleground of the ACQ bubble.

Despite the development, Sotto remains a game-time decision for Gilas as it goes up against South Korea in the first of two meetings on Wednesday night as his true match fitness remains a concern.

[Related Story: Kai Sotto enters ACQ bubble, but status vs. SoKor still up in air]

Gilas is likely to reveal its active roster against the Koreans, featuring former Magnolia import Ricardo Ratliffe, on Tuesday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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