Kai Sotto finally gets clearance to play for Gilas Pilipinas

Kai Sotto has been cleared medically to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 FIBA World Cup which the country will co-host along with Japan and Indonesia in 10 days.

Al Panlilio, President of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), announced the welcome development on Tuesday, August 15, noting that the lanky 7-foot-3 center was in attendance and participated in the team practice the night before.

“Just to put closure on this, our doctors spoke to his doctors and they’ve cleared him to play,” said Panlilio during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Meralco Function Hall in Ortigas.

The announcement not only put an end to speculations about Sotto’s availability in time for basketball’s biggest sporting event, but it also came as a relief to supporters who are anxious to see him wear the country’s colors.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him (Sotto) play also in the friendlies to get ready… I mean, for everybody to get ready when the games start on the 25th,” said Panlilio.

Sotto’s availability for Gilas in time for the World Cup has been called into question due to a back ailment he suffered while playing in the NBA Summer League with the Orlando Magic a few months ago.

It forced him to skip the Nationals’ pocket tournament in China earlier this month, but he has started to attend sessions since then.

“I think the team’s concern right now is to improve his fitness level. Of course, not just his, but everyone’s fitness level leading to the World Cup,” said Panlilio.

With less than two weeks until the global event, the Nationals are set to play tune-up matches against Ivory Coast, Montenegro, and Mexico in the coming days.

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