Basketball

Kai Sotto set to make debut on Filipino senior national team: 'I hope we bring our best'

The 18-year-old prodigy has been training as part of the NBA G League in California. He will suit up for the Philippines in a pair of February tip-offs.

By Nick McCarvel ·

Long seen as the next big thing in Filipino basketball, 18-year-old Kai Sotto will make his debut with the senior national team come February.

The team announced that Sotto will join the Gilas Pilipinas - the men's senior national team - for a pair of FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February. The move was reported by Filipino newspaper The Inquirer.

"I will be joining the national team. I am excited," the 7-foot-2 (218cm) Sotto said during a video press conference, according to the paper. "I hope we bring our best. This is a very special moment for all of us.”

Sotto confirmed his participation on his Instagram account, saying in a video: "I’m super excited. I’m officially joining the national team. I’m really looking forward (to it). Together with (my teammates) I hope we play our best and bring glory to our country."

The Philippines is set to take on South Korea and Indonesia in February tip-offs.

Sotto is currently training with the NBA G League, the NBA's minor league, in California, still hoping to become the first Philippines-born player to make it into the NBA.

"I will do everything I can do to (become) an all-star," Sotto told a Filipino radio program this year.

The Philippines has not qualified for the Olympics in men's basketball since Munich 1972, something Sotto would like to help change in the future.