The first thing Kai Sotto wants to do when he joins the Gilas Pilipinas camp is to build a strong bond with his teammates.
Sotto has been in the country since February 2. He is currently finishing his mandatory quarantine period before he’s allowed to join the Philippine national pool inside a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
“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,” he said in the “Puso Pilipinas” sports program on YouTube.
Sotto, 18, believes the bond they would make would be instrumental to the success of the national team in its upcoming games.
The 7-foot-3 teen standout is set to give the country a huge boost in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers in Doha, Qatar slated on February 18 to 22. The Philippines will face Korea twice and Indonesia once for its final Group A games in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.
At the top of Group A with a 3-0 card, the Philippines needs to win at least one of its last three games to secure its Asia Cup berth.
To prepare for this task, Gilas Pilipinas has been training in the bubble since last month for the third and final window.
Despite being the youngest in the national pool, Sotto is expected to fill in a huge role in the roster owing to his exposure to international basketball having played with Team Ignite in the G League.
Sotto is training in the US to chase his dream to enter the NBA. He will miss some games for Team Ignite in the G League season as he honors his commitment to the national team.