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Gilas Pilipinas remains my big priority — Sotto

KAI Sotto yesterday insisted that Gilas Pilipinas remains a big priority even as he’s vigorously pursuing his NBA dreams.

“I’ve never said no to playing for my country ‘coz that’s my dream since I started playing basketball,” Mr. Sotto told the Power & Play program on One PH of former PBA commissioner Noli Eala.

“My top 2 dreams are to make it to the NBA and represent the national team,” he added.

The 7-foot-3 slotman made the statement amid talks casting doubts on his participation in the Gilas pool that starts its buildup for the FIBA World Cup this week.

Mr. Sotto recently attended a mini camp for the Utah Jazz and is looking to join more in his efforts to crack the NBA.

“I’ve been representing my country since I was 14 years old. I don’t get what other people are saying about me not wanting to join (Gilas) blah, blah blah. I’m trying not to listen to it and just focusing on the now,” he reiterated.

Mr. Sotto said his sports agent, Tony Ronzone of Wasserman, will handle the talks with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

Gilas is set to start WC workouts in Manila on Wednesday with trips to Europe for camps and tuneup matches against quality opposition in the pipeline later on.

Mr. Sotto’s former frontcourt partner with Gilas Youth, AJ Edu, is already in town to serve duties with the Gilas World Cup pool.

The Filipino cagers are ranged against the Dominican Republic, Angola and Italy in Group A of the prestigious global meet, determined to get to the next round and possibly finish as the top Asian team for a crack at the Paris Olympics. — Olmin Leyba

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