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2021 FIBA Asia Cup

Kai Sotto can’t wait to show Gilas his improvements

Kai Sotto arrived in the country last February 2. Though in quarantine, Sotto has still been working out in his hotel room until he can leave.

“It’s a little challenging pero kahit papano, I make the most of it,” the 18-year-old member of G League Ignite told Puso Pilipinas in an interview done last February 4.

“Sobrang excited lang ako sa next following days pagdating ko sa bubble sa Calamba.”

Sotto’s room has transformed into a mini gym just for him to remain in shape.

The video showed a stationary bike, several dumbbells, and a weights vest. And it’s because Sotto has been known to quickly lose weight.

“Got to stay active during quarantine,” he quipped.

The past two years have been life-changing, fast-paced, and intense, to say the least, for the 7-foot-3 enigma.

His first year in the States saw him train and play for The Skills Factory. There, he got to experience the Amateur Athletic Union circuit.

Despite getting plenty of offers from numerous Division I universities, Sotto got the opportunity of a lifetime when the G League came knocking on his door. He received an invite to join an elite prospects program handled by Brian Shaw, alongside the likes of Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and three more prospects.

Sotto then decided to not take part in the upcoming G League season to play for Gilas in the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Still, he would not exchange those two years for anything in the world.

“Para sa akin, ‘yung two years ko sa US is the biggest two years of improvement para sa akin. Sobrang daming nagbago sa buhay ko at sobrang daming opportunities na nakarating sa family ko. Pagdating sa basketball, tumaas lalo ‘yung confidence ko sa sarili ko,” said Sotto.

“More of being more aggressive and getting stronger ‘yung natutunan ko dun. ‘Yun lang talaga ‘yung kulang ko. Tinutulungan ako ng mga coaches ko on a mental standpoint kasi ‘yun ‘yung magiging lamang ko sa mga kalaban ko.”

Sotto will only have a few days to train with Gilas, since the team leaves for Doha in three days.

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For Sotto, even if he doesn’t get to line up, he still feels happy to form relationships with his future teammates in the national team.

“Madami pa akong kailangan i-improve. Hindi pa ako ‘yung perfect player, hindi pa ako ‘yung best version of myself. Kaya sinusulit ko ‘yung bawat araw na may time ako para makapag-workout,” he said.

“Gusto ko lang ngayon na makapag-bond ng maayos sa mga magiging teammates ko kasi halos lahat ng mga players sa Gilas, first time ko kasi makakasama halos silang lahat. Hopefully maging malakas ‘yung bond namin dahil makakatulong ‘yun sa upcoming games.”

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