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Kai Sotto, the next big thing for Gilas and PH basketball

by Reynald Magallon, May 15, 2020 12:04am

There were no doubts in the mind of the former and present big men of Gilas Pilipinas that the G-League bound Kai Sotto will be the next big thing for Philippine basketball.

Former national team big men Marc Pingris, Beau Belga, and Asi Taulava together with current Gilas pillars June Mar Fajardo and Poy Erram all agreed that the future is bright for Gilas Pilipinas especially with Sotto leading the pack of new breed of rising stars.

In the second episode of PBA Kamustahan which aired hours after Sotto announced his decision to take the G-League route to NBA, the PBA top big men shared their thoughts on the new generation of Gilas players.

"For sure si Kai nandun. Sobrang ganda ng training ni Kai ngayon, baka ako pa turuan nun, e," said Fajardo when asked who he thinks will be the country's next top big man.

Taulava echoed Fajardo's thoughts saying Sotto and Thirdy Ravena will be the guys who will be carrying the torch for the national team.

"It's gonna be a lot of them, a lot of young guys coming up now. Thirdy is there too coming in. Thirdy and Kai, I think they're gonna be the two guys carrying the team," said Taulava who was national team mainstay back in the 2000s.

Sotto and Ravena were just two of the rising names in Philippine basketball who could potentially represent the country in the future FIBA events, especially the 2023 FIBA World Cup which the country will co-hosting together with Japan and Indonesia.

Sotto right now is in the US trying to chase his NBA dream by joining Fil-American and fellow top recruit Jalen Green in the G-League.

Taulava, however, believes the current generation of players was bigger and deeper.

"We got a lot guys coming in. It's not just them. I'm excited. There's a lot of prospects out there. We just can't be closed minded about it and just be focus about it. This generation the pool is a lot bigger," Taulava added.

In last year's rookie draft, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas made five Gilas picks which will comprise the Gilas pool for FIBA events. 

There's also the young guns in Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez and Robert Bolick who all proved their wares in Gilas uniform during the 2019 World Cup in China.

"Siyempre sila CJ Perez, hindi lang naman sa big man pero sa mga guards din. We stick to those guys like sila CJ, sila Thirdy, sila (Robert) Bolick, sila Kiefer (Ravena)," explained Erram.

"The future looks very bright. We're leaving basketball in the good hands of these younger guys," added Taulava.

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