Why the secrecy on Sotto?


    GILAS Pilipinas is set to leave for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Doha, Qatar, tomorrow (Saturday) but nothing concrete has been heard so far from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas regarding 7-foot-3 center Kai Sotto.

    Sotto, 18, returned home last Feb. 2 from the United States and had to go on a five-day quarantine, plus a swab test.

    The SBP has remained tightlipped if Sotto has joined the bubble training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

    By choosing flag and country, Sotto will likely not suit up for the Ignite squad that signed him last May in the NBA G League.

    The final leg of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers is set on Feb. 18 to 22.

    Leading the Gilas pool are amateur standouts Isaac Go, twins Matt and Mike Nieto, guard Rey Suerte, Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño, guard Dave Ildefonso, big men Justine Baltazar, Calvin Oftana, William Navarro, and Kemark Cariño, guard Dwight Ramos, and Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame of Ivory Coast, a candidate for naturalization.

    Six PBA players are fighting for slots in the final 12, namely, the NLEX duo of Kiefer Ravena and Raul Soyud, the TNT pair of Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario, San Miguel Beer wingman CJ Perez, and Phoenix slotman Justin Chua.

    Gilas is set to field an all-Filipino squad without a naturalized player like in the second window.

    With a 3-0 card in Group A, Gilas squares off with South Korea on Feb. 18, a reset of their initial match that was called off in the second window in Manama last November.

    Gilas battles Indonesia on Feb. 20 and then South Korea on Feb. 22 anew.

    The Philippine five needs just a win to gain a berth in the FIBA Asia Cup set from Aug. 16 to 28 in Indonesia.