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AJ Edu happy for Kai Sotto, hopes he does well in NBL

Former Gilas Youth center AJ Edu lauded teammate Kai Sotto's decision to join the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian NBL, calling it a "pathway that is proven" for hopefuls looking to make it big in the NBA.

"I was very happy for him. Immediately, when I heard the news, I contacted him and I just congratulated him because I feel it's a very good step for him. We've seen it work before. LaMelo Ball, he was the number two pick," said Edu in an interview Saturday on Radyo5's Power & Play with Noli Eala.

"The sky's the limit for [Sotto] as everyone knows the potential that he has is incredible. So I mean, it's just up to him for real and the pathway he has gone is I think the right direction," the teenage center added.

Edu, who has gone through two knee injuries in the past two years, also reaffirmed his commitment to the national team program.

Edu, a 6'11" prospect currently playing for the University of Toledo Rockets in the NCAA Div. I, has represented the country numerous times in the past, including the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece, where he tore his ACL. He suffered another setback when he injured his meniscus in an NCAA game in December 2020.

Despite the two major knee injuries, Edu has kept himself on track for a full recovery and an eventual stint for the Philippines in the near future.

"Obviously I do want to play for Gilas in the near future. This coming summer I think it's a bit soon since I just recovered from my injury. But definitely in the future, the plan is to be a part of Gilas," the center said.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has also maintained a constant line of communication with Edu, especially during his recovery process.

"They've also done a good job just making sure that I'm handling the situation well mentally. Yeah, I've been in touch for sure," expounded Edu.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Gilas could possibly have three skilled bigs in Edu, Sotto, and naturalized center Angelo Kouame clogging the interior for the Philippines in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

With Gilas going for an all-cadet lineup for the immediate future, Edu praised the SBP for handling the program very well under the guidance of Tab Baldwin.

"These core players will build that chemistry and these tournaments will help develop the experience in FIBA tournaments as well. So, I mean I'm hoping that I can be a part of that soon and we'll see what the future holds," mentioned Edu.

For now, Edu is focusing on improving his fundamentals with two years left on his collegiate eligibility, and to be able to make it to NCAA March Madness.

"This year, I would say I would like to have more of an impact offensively and then as a team collectively, our goal is to make the NCAA Tournament."