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2024 Summer Olympics

Kai Sotto hails Tim Cone as one of his best coaches yet


Kai Sotto has been one of the most dedicated pillars of the Gilas Pilipinas program.

Over the past six years with the national team, he has been under the guidance of some of the brightest coaches in the country – such as Chot Reyes, Tab Baldwin, and Sandy Arespacochaga.

However, it’s in his seventh year that he found a head coach who not only unlocks his true potential but also believes in him: current Gilas head coach Tim Cone.

2024-FIBA-OQT-Gilas-def-Latvia-Tim-Cone-1 Kai Sotto hails Tim Cone as one of his best coaches yet 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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“He’s one of the greatest minds in basketball history,” Sotto told Fiba.basketball.

“He’s maybe one of the best coaches I’ve played for. We’re very blessed and happy!”

When Cone was tasked with leading the national team earlier this year, he made it a goal to help Sotto become the most dominant big man in Asia.

The decorated head coach also predicted that the 7-foot-3 Filipino will one day make it to the NBA, a goal Sotto is moving towards under Cone’s mentorship.

During the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, Sotto averaged 15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Then, on Thursday morning (Manila time) against the world No. 6 team, Latvia, the 22-year-old scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

His contributions were key to Gilas’ stunning 89-80 victory to kick off their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament-Riga campaign.

2024-FIBA-OQT-Gilas-def-Latvia-Kai-Sotto-x-June-Mar-Fajardo Kai Sotto hails Tim Cone as one of his best coaches yet 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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“We expected a tough game; we know how formidable Latvia is. They’re one of the top ten teams in the world. We knew we had to bring our A-game and give a hundred percent effort,” he said.

“After this game, I need to reflect on my performance. I’ll watch the game again and see where I can improve more. I’m still not satisfied with my performance today.”

But the work continues for Sotto, Cone, and the rest of Gilas.

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Later on Thursday evening (8:30 PM Manila time), they face Georgia with a semifinal spot on the line.

Just as Cone believes in him, Sotto is confident that they can get the job done.

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