The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Tuesday announced the inclusion of Kai Sotto in Gilas Pilipinas' 12-man lineup against South Korea on Wednesday evening.
Sotto will join a frontcourt composed of naturalized center Ange Kouame and newly-minted team captain Isaac Go.
Also making the cut are forwards William Navarro, Carl Tamayo, Mike Nieto and Justine Baltazar and guards RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, Jaydee Tungcab, Javi Gomez de Liaño and Dwight Ramos.
"We already told Kai that he will be part of the team and he was really thrilled," said coach Tab Baldwin.
Sotto, Belangel, Tamayo and Abarrientos, who previously bannered the Batang Gilas squads, will be making their seniors squad debut against the continental rivals, along with Kouame, who was recently cleared by FIBA to become the country's naturalized player moving forward.
"Kai was able to join us in a previous training bubble when we were preparing to play the games in Doha, Qatar. We accomplished a lot with him during that time but unfortunately those games were cancelled," Baldwin added.
"Naturally, we were worried about how much of that will stay with him but the coaching staff was pleased to find out that he has great retention of information. There is a solid foundation of knowledge from his past experience with us that helped him process the new information we introduced since then."
Meanwhile, Geo Chiu, LeBron Lopez, and Jordan Heading were not able to make the last 12 for Wednesday's game. In a separate announcement, the SBP said the three will suit up for the June 18 game against Indonesia in lieu of Tungcab, Gomez de Liaño, and Nieto.
The team will be coached by Baldwin on the game that will tip off at the Angeles University Foundation gym on Wednesday at 6 p.m., and will be aired live on TV5 and One Sports and streamed on gigafest.smart.
Here is our Gilas Pilipinas Men's Team FINAL 12 roster versus South Korea as they kick off their campaign in the #FIBAAsiaCup 2021 Qualifiers! #SBP #ParaSaBayan #LabanPilipinas pic.twitter.com/E0cxqdhYKv— SBP (@officialSBPinc) June 15, 2021