Kai Sotto ruled out of Gilas' China friendlies

Kai Sotto is not joining Gilas' trip to China. From the Orlando Magic's Facebook page
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--It's final: Kai Sotto is not joining Gilas Pilipinas for its upcoming friendlies in China.

Team manager Butch Antonio confirmed the development on Monday, saying that the seven-foot-three young center will focus on letting his injured back heal.

Sotto suffered an apparent back spasm in his last NBA Summer League game for the Orlando Magic earlier this month.

Upon returning to the Philippines, Sotto attended Gilas' tune-up game against Ateneo and two practice sessions, the last of which was earlier Monday when he relayed his decision to coach Chot Reyes.

With Sotto out, Gilas will bank on June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, and AJ Edu to man the middle when they take on Iran and Senegal from Aug. 2-6.

Lebanon was invited as well, but the team will instead play in the International Basketball Week in Abu Dhabi where they will face Egypt, Mexico, Greece, and the United States.

Gilas flies to China on Tuesday, but Jordan Clarkson will only follow suit by the weekend.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno