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Kai Sotto confirms he's not joining Gilas for FIBA Asia Cup

Kai Sotto will be focusing on his upcoming Australian league stint for now. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas will be without its main beanpole for the FIBA Asia Cup and a pocket tournament prior to that in Jordan.

Kai Sotto confirmed early Thursday that he is not suiting up for the national team in both basketball events in Amman and Jakarta.

The seven-foot-three center said that he will join Adelaide for the upcoming Australian NBL season and in fact will go there very soon to take part in the training camp.

"The SBP and my EWP team have been trying to figure out what is the best balance for the team and my personal development. And for a while I was really hoping that I would be able to join my teammates in Indonesia. But as you all know, I already committed to join the NBL starting the 2021-2022 season and I will be in Adelaide on Aug. 1 to start my two-week quarantine, get settled, and start preparing for preseason activities," Sotto said in a statement in his Facebook page.

He added that joining Australia's top tier cagefest is vital for honing his skills.

"Playing in the NBL is a crucial step in my basketball journey and now that I have fulfilled my qualifier window and OQT commitments to the national team, I want to focus on playing well for the Adelaide 36ers and focus 1000 percent on giving the 36ers all my best," Sotto further said.

He then vowed, "Babalik ho ako sa Gilas na mas malakas at mas maraming natutunan sa aking paglalaro sa Australia."

Sotto then expressed his support for Gilas for both the Jordanian tournament, known as the King Abdullah Cup, and the FIBA Asia Cup, saying, "Ipagdadasal ko po ang mga kasamahan ko para sa Asia Cup and I will be one of their loudest fans!"

Even without Sotto, Gilas' frontline remains solid with naturalized big Ange Kouame, 2019 top PBA Draft pick Isaac Go, 2021 Gilas Draft selection Tzaddy Rangel, and high school standout Geo Chiu manning the center spots in the national team's current pool for the King Abdullah Cup and the FIBA Asia Cup.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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