Kai Sotto eyeing to participate in Gilas practice next week amid back injury

Kai Sotto is looking to formally join the Gilas practices right when the national team returns from China. From the Orlando Magic's Facebook page
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Kai Sotto allayed fears that he could be ruled out for Gilas Pilipinas' home stand in the FIBA World Cup as he said that he is set to join the team in practice sometime next week.

Sotto said that he is currently doing well in his rehabilitation process from the back injury that he suffered in his last NBA Summer League game for the Orlando Magic last month.

"Slowly, umo-OK na yung likod ko, especially compared sa US pa ako. It's way better now," Sotto told sportscasters Quinito Henson and Dyan Castillejo in an interview over PlayItRight TV that was aired on Friday night.

The seven-foot-three beanpole is currently halfway through his rehab with six more sessions to be done, and he hopes he can finally participate in the drills once Gilas returns from their stint in the Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in Guangzhou.

"Hopefully next week, makapag-step on court na ako to do some drills and stuff on the floor," Sotto further said.

Sotto's height would be of good help as Gilas looks to contain Dominican Republic's NBA star bigs Al Horford and Karl-Anthony Towns in the opening game of the FIBA World Cup on Aug. 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue.

"Habang may time pa before the first game, talagang sinusulit ko yung araw para lang mag-heal at mag-recover yung likod ko para pagdating ng World Cup, malapit na ako sa 100 percent," Sotto said.

However, he is eyeing to make it during Gilas' last two friendlies before the World Cup itself against Montenegro on Aug. 20 and Mexico on Aug. 21.

"I think I'll be ready and good na," Sotto assured.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno