Filipino basketball prodigy Kai Sotto is set to arrive in the Philippines early this week.
The 7-foot-3 Sotto is set to make his debut for the Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team during the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers which is set in Doha, Qatar from February 17
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio made the announcement on Saturday during the online show The Chasedown.
“There’s a strong marching order from our president Al Panlilio to get him over here and there’s just so many moving parts, and it’s bit of a challenge for us,” said Gregorio.
“It’s just taking longer than expected. If we were living in a normal environment, he would have come in 10 days ago but because of the pandemic, everything’s supposed to be cautious. But hopefully by early next week, we’ll see Kai in the Philippines,” added the former Purefoods coach.
Difficult as it may seem, Gregorio disclosed that Sotto and his camp have cleared every hurdle necessary in order to bring the 18-year old home and allow him to practice with the national team at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
“Merong US protocols and Philippine protocols na kailangang intindihin, but sa management team ni Kai, we’ve gotten a very good response from East West Private led by Ms. Chao Espaldon,” said Gregorio.
With Gilas scheduled to depart for Doha, Qatar just five days before the tournament proper, Gregorio assured that the SBP will abide by all the required health protocols set by the national government.
“Kailangang umabot siya, but we’re strictly going to follow the guidelines from the government. Ang importante dito, as soon as possible we can get him in the Philippines and we’ll see it from there.”