MANILA, Philippines—Come hell or high water, Kai Sotto is committed to competing for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 Fiba World Cup tournament.
Sotto told Quinito Henson’s PlayItRightTV that his commitment to play with Gilas is still intact and he will suit up for coach Chot Reyes as he tries to get in top shape from a back injury.
“I’m committed to play for the national team, whatever happens. Every day, I’m getting better, and I should be okay [for the FIBA World Cup],” said the former Ateneo standout in the interview.
“Basketball-wise, I’m at my happiest when I play for my national team.”
Sotto’s commitment to Gilas has been questioned since his return from Orlando after his short NBA Summer League stint.
The 7-footer begged off from training and joining Gilas in China to work on his back issues that have been nagging him since his run for the Magic in the preseason.
Sotto also revealed in the same interview he is already halfway through rehab and will be ready to play for the Philippines during a couple of tune-up games before the start of the Fiba World CUp.
“The rehab’s been going well. Slowly, my back is getting okay compared to when I was in the US so it’s way better now. I’m supposed to do 12 sessions and I already did six,” he said.
“[I’ll recover] slowly but surely, [do] rehab then back on the weights, and hopefully next week step on the court to do some drills and stuff on court,” he added.
When Sotto trains with Gilas, naturalized player Jordan Clarkson will also potentially be present in training with his arrival in the country set for either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Currently, the national team is in China for a short pocket tournament.