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Tim Cone believes Gilas' Kai Sotto can dominate Asia

Kai Sotto Gilas Pilipinas FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone was all praises for his prized center Kai Sotto after spectacular showings in both games of the first window of the 2025 FIBA Asia Qualifiers.

Sotto opened the window with 13 points and 15 rebounds in a 94-64 win over Hong Kong on Thursday and followed that with another double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, along with five assists and three blocks, against visiting Chinese Taipei on Sunday.

"Kai Sotto is going to absolutely dominate Asia. I've always felt that," said Cone in a press conference after their 106-53 win against Chinese Taipei.

For Cone, he is hoping he could help the 7-foot-3 Sotto progress in his career.

"If you get him in the right spots, he can absolutely dominate Asia. For him, the next spot is to get up to the European level and the NBA level. And we're hoping we could help him get into that level," said Cone, the winningest coach in the Philippine Basketball Association. 

And getting him to that next level means Sotto losing some of his availability for Gilas, Cone said it will not be a problem.

"There may be a time we might lose Kai. He may not be able to join windows because he might be in the NBA, and we'll be very, very proud of that.”

READ MORE | Gilas Pilipinas at the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

For Sotto, his goal is just to keep improving and he’s happy that he can contribute to the team. 

“Everyday is just getting better. I feel confident, I feel stronger and I’m happy na natutulungan ko ang team ko na manalo,” Sotto said.

[Everyday is just getting better. I feel confident, I feel stronger and I'm happy that I can help my team win.]

He also added that the role he's been given on this team is a big confidence-booster. 

“Para sa player, ‘pag binigyan kang malaking role ng coach mo, ‘pag pinagkatiwalaan ka, binigyan ka ng minuto, talagang sky high ‘yung confidence ng player,” said Sotto.

[For a player, when you're given a big role by your coach, when you're trusted and given minutes, your confidence will be sky high.]

—JMB, GMA Integrated News