Vargas: Door’s not closed on Kai


THE ball is on Kai Sotto’s hands if he momentarily shelves his dream to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in favor of suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 2023 World Cup the country is lead co-hosting next month.

“Kai is always welcome to join the national team anytime,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Vice President Ricky Vargas told BusinessMirror on Wednesday. “We are fully behind his dream of being the first Filipino to join the NBA—his dream is our dream, too.”

“[Yet] our nation needs Kai in the World Cup,” the former Philippine Olympic Committee president Vargas added.

The 7-foot-3 Kai has been making the rounds on the global arena in pursuit of his NBA dream. The Orlando Magic signed the 21-year-old for this year’s Summer League, but was benched in the team’s games against the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers.

Sotto and Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson remain in the radar of Gilas Pilipinas for the World Cup set August 25 to September 10 in the country, Indonesia and Japan.

Vargas praised Sotto’s persistence to achieve his NBA dream.

“I like his persistence—never say die—and he keeps on trying, never gives up,” Vargas said. “It shows that he has that Filipino spirit, it’s a good trait of a Filipino, very patient and hardworking, that’s what we want in our athletes.” Josef Ramos

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