Kai Sotto recommits to play for Gilas Pilipinas

Kai Sotto is committed to rejoining the Gilas Pilipinas Men basketball program, he announced in a recorded video message showed during a press conference on Thursday.

"I'm really looking forward to join my former teammates and the PBA players that I have idolized since then. Together with them, I hope we play our best to bring glory to our country," said Sotto, who is currently with NBA G League team Ignite.

"It will be special for us all as the Philippines is the co-host for the 2023 World Cup," he added.

Gilas program director Tab Baldwin, on the other hand, said that the they will welcome the teenager with open arms once he returns to the country soon.

"We like to think and we have every belief that will be for February but there still are discussions ongoing and everybody is hopeful. All the fans, the coaches, and the teammates can't wait to welcome Kai back into the Gilas fold and take the next step forward toward 2023 with him and I'm very excited to learn that he has a passion for it as well," explained Baldwin.

In preparation for the third window, the Gilas pool will commence bubble training in early January, according to Jong Uichico, who was the head coach for the November window.

"So that we can get together for a longer time. That gives the system to mature and the players to mature. In terms of the system, get everything on track," said Uichico. "The players have already experienced two games in Bahrain and that will help us with their maturity coming into window 3. So I think we'll do a pretty good job."

The Philippines will be hosting the February window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga from Feb. 18-22. Along with the Filipinos are fellow Group A countries South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. Games of Group C, which is made up of New Zealand, Australia, Guam, and Hong Kong, will also be held in Clark.

Gilas will be facing the Koreans twice on Feb. 18 and 22, and will go up against Rajko Toroman and Indonesia on Feb. 20.

"With Korea and Indonesia, the competition is tougher. So we'll be ready to put up a fine roster and take on the challenge," mentioned Baldwin.

PBA players may also be included in the pool, since the 46th campaign of the league does not start until April.

"We should be able to access the PBA players and mix them up to the players we had, work them out against one another... The ultimate goal is to create a talented team, not a team of talents."