Fingers crossed on Kai Sotto's health status ahead of Gilas-Brazil FIBA OQT semis clash

Kai Sotto is a game-time decision at the moment against Brazil after his rib injury against Georgia. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--All eyes will be on Kai Sotto's availability for Gilas Pilipinas' Saturday semifinal against Brazil in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Sotto left Gilas' crucial Thursday game against Georgia after what seemed like a chest area injury after Goga Bitadze accidentally hit him in the said area during a hard fall caused by Joe Thomasson's foul, which was upgraded into an unsportsmanlike foul.

Sotto left the game with 6:42 remaining in the second quarter and never got back since then.

"He is in the hospital checking out his rib [using] an X-ray. We don't have any news on that yet whether he'll be able to go forward," Cone said right after the game.

Word from Riga on Friday, though, said that Sotto turned out negative from any rib fracture, yet his availability remains questionable.

During the said play, Sotto converted a layup that eventually sparked an 11-0 run that cut Georgia's lead from 20 points down to nine.

Needing to win by 19 points or more to eliminate Gilas, Georgia never got to up the lead back to 20 from thereon and was even on the verge of losing their game outright before they had to settle for a two-point win.

"[We] got some really good bench production from Carl Tamayo and CJ Perez. Kevin Quiambao and Japeth Aguilar, our veteran and captain, really stepped into the void and gave us big minutes in what would have been Kai's minutes. All that stuff just came to the fore and we were able to stay close," Cone said.

Gilas eventually found out that they would face Brazil next after the latter stormed back from 24 points down to keep the top seed in Group B despite an eventual Cameroon win.

After playing back-to-back games following a Day 1 bye, Gilas gets a breather on Friday, which means enough time to further monitor Sotto's ribs.

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