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Kai Sotto credits Gilas Youth bonds for seamless chemistry

Once considered the cornerstones of Gilas Pilipinas’ future, Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo, AJ Edu, and Kevin Quiambao are finally turning that dream into reality following key roles in the Philippines’ sweep of the opening window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers.

Sotto, now the starting center for Gilas Pilipinas, averaged 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.5 blocks in the two-game stretch that saw the Nationals deliver dominant performances against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei.

Tamayo posted 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, including an 11-point, six-rebound production in the final game of the window, while Quiambao had per-game counts of 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Edu, who proved to be one of the team’s brightest spots in the FIBA 2023 World Cup, was sidelined by a meniscus injury but traveled with Gilas Pilipinas and joined its buildup for the opening window.

The 7-foot-3 big man relished the opportunity to be with some set of players he grew up with in Batang Gilas and play with them now on the seniors’ squad. Sotto could not help but reminisce about their Gilas Youth days, looking back on how far they have come since then.FIBA-Asia-Cup-Q-Kai-Sotto-2746 Kai Sotto credits Gilas Youth bonds for seamless chemistry Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

“I feel like we’ve already shared a really good bond ever since we were younger, so it really helps us, when we get to the court, wala nang kapaan,” said Sotto, who delivered 18 points, 10 boards, five assists, and three blocks in the 106-53 rout of Chinese Taipei.

“Alam mo yun? May trust na sa isa’t isa and Carl, AJ, KQ, sabay-sabay kami from Batang Gilas to now, so I’m very happy na tuluy-tuloy,” he added.

Gilas Pilipinas opened the first window with a 94-64 road victory over Hong Kong last Thursday before closing it out at home via a lopsided decision versus Chinese Taipei at the Philsports Arena last Sunday.

#ReadMore  Kai Sotto returns to his roots before pre-NBA Draft grind

Sotto, who is set to rejoin his mother team Yokohama in the B.League, said that it was a great and important start for Gilas Pilipinas heading into their next challenge – the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Latvia this July.

“It’s a good start. Sabi nga ni coach Tim (Cone), the goal is bigger than the role. Looking at the bigger picture, that’s four years from now, eight years from now, tuluy-tuloy lang,” said the son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto.

“Ito yung kumbaga first step, baby steps pero kung iisipin malaking bagay na ‘to para sa amin dahil ito yung simula.”

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