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Tab tells Kai: come train with Gilas

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Tab tells Kai: come train with Gilas
Kai Sotto
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin wants 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto to train with the Nationals for at least three weeks if he were to see action in the two major competitions in June.

Baldwin underscored the importance of Sotto getting “integrated into the team” prior to the coming FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga and FIBA Olympic Qualification Tournament in Serbia.

Sotto begged off from the ongoing training camp in Calamba, Laguna but has expressed willingness to join Gilas sometime soon.

“As a coach, I’m developing a team and to be part of that team, you have to be integrated into that team and to be integrated into that team, you have to be in the training,” Baldwin said in the “Power and Play” program on Radyo Singko.

Sotto briefly attended Gilas’ training bubble last February for the Asia Cup Qualifiers that was eventually postponed. He has since returned to the United States.

Baldwin said the 18-year-old slotman would need a significant period of time with the quintet the next time he flies home. Per Gilas plans, the youth laden pool will end its current bubble training on April 15 then play PBA teams or go overseas in late April and early May before holding a final training ahead of the Asia Cup qualifiers.

“This is a condition, I won’t say three weeks, it might be four, it might be two and we have to continue talking to Kai and his people to see what his schedule looks like and find the best solution.

“But it really, genuinely needs to be the best solution for Kai as a basketball player and for the team,” he said.

The veteran mentor said if Sotto suits up without much training with the group, his performance may make him “look bad” in the eyes of NBA scouts, and may “detract the team from their performance if he doesn’t know the systems we’re running.”

KAI SOTTO

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