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Cone sees Kai Sotto dominating Asian basketball

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Cone sees Kai Sotto dominating Asian basketball
Kai Sotto averaged 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in two games for Gilas.
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines – Is Kai Sotto going to shock Asia?

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone believes so.

In the absence of big men June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu, the 7-foot-3 Sotto dominated both sides of the floor against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei as the Philippines swept the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

In the two games, he averaged 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

After Gilas’ 106-53 beatdown of Chinese Taipei Sunday night, Cone gave Sotto the ultimate compliment.

“If I may say so about Kai, he’s going to absolutely dominate Asia. I’ve always felt that,” the coach told reporters on Sunday.

“If he can get into the right spots, he can absolutely dominate Asia. And for him, the next spot is to get up to the European level and the NBA level. I’m hoping that we could get him into that level,” he added.

Sotto has been chasing the NBA dream for a few years now.

After dominating UAAP juniors basketball play with Ateneo, he played with the Adelaide 36ers. He then declared for the NBA draft in 2022 but he was undrafted.

After a stint in Adelaide, he signed with the Hiroshima Dragonflies and now, he is playing for the Yokohama B-Corsairs in the Japan B.League.

And now, the 21-year-old center is showing vast improvement and maturity in his play.

“And there might be a time that we might lose Kai. He may not be able to join us because he might be in the NBA and we’ll be very, very proud of that,” Cone said.

Gilas will next see action in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will start in July.

vuukle comment

GILAS

GILAS PILIPINAS

KAI SOTTO

TIM CONE

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