Kai Sotto receives medical clearance to play for Gilas in FIBA World Cup

Kai Sotto is back (FIBA photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Another good news for Filipino basketball fans.

After failing to participate in the training of the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team upon arriving in the PHL from his NBA Summer League stint, Kai Sotto finally gained his medical clearance to rejoin the camp and reinforce the squad for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

It was Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio who announced the recent development during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum last August 15, 2023.

“And to share an update, our doctors spoke with Kai’s doctors yesterday. The SBP doctors have cleared him to play. That’s fantastic news. He’s now cleared to play,” said Panlilio.

Sotto arrived in the PHL last two weeks after playing for the Orlando Magic during the recently concluded NBA Summer League.

However, the seven-foot-three center didn’t show up in the Gilas training camp immediately after reports surfaced that he injured his back during the last game of the Magic.

Sotto played in the first half for Orlando but already sat out the entire second half after complaining about his back.

The former Adelaide 36ers Asian import participated in the various Gilas press conferences but head coach Chot Reyes revealed that Sotto is yet to attend a single practice session last week.

Now that Panlilio and the SBP confirmed Sotto’s commitment to the final phase of the Gilas training, Reyes and his staff will now kick off their process of determining the final 12 players for the World Cup.

Sotto is expected to grace the remaining exhibition games against Montenegro and Mexico before the FIBA tournament proper kicks off on August 25.

“And we’re looking forward to seeing him participate in the warm-up matches to prepare. I mean, for everyone’s preparation when the games commence on the 25th,” added Panlilio.