Kai Sotto to lead Gilas final 12 vs rival S. Korea

Published June 15, 2021, 4:48 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Kai Sotto (SBP Images)

Kai Sotto was named to the 12-man lineup of Gilas Pilipinas for its match against old rival South Korea in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers Wednesday, June 16 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Coach Tab Baldwin elected to include the 7-foot-3 Sotto in the roster for the first of two meetings with South Korea despite having to make plenty of catch up following his arrival from the United States last May 31.

Sotto, who spent the past few months in the United States completed the mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving from abroad but was able to join the latter end of Gilas’ training bubble in Calamba, Laguna.

The 19-year-old was among the 15 players who entered the Clark bubble last Sunday, June 14.

Also set to see action in the opener is Ange Kouame, who will make his Gilas debut as a naturalized player. The Ateneo center had his registration approved by FIBA last week after securing his Philippine passport.

Team captain Isaac Go, Will Navarro, Dwight Ramos, Mike Nieto, SJ Belangel, Jaydee Tungcab, Justine Baltazar, Javi Gomez de Liano, RJ Abarrientos and Carl Tamayo round out the roster for the South Korea match.

Left off the squad for Wednesday’s game were Jordan Heading, LeBron Lopez and Geo Chiu.

Wednesday marks the first of two matches between the two countries, with Gilas hoping to win the initial offering to confirm its place in the continental tournament slated mid-August in Jakarta, Indonesia.

But Gilas has lost its last five matches against South Korea since the memorable victory in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Philippines, however, holds a 6-0 record against the South Koreans on home soil dating back to the 1954 Asian Games.