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Kai high on playing under Cone

MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto looks forward to embarking on his latest Gilas Pilipinas tour of duty under the mentorship of coach Tim Cone.

“Very excited. Obviously I’m a big fan of coach Tim,” Sotto told News5 upon his arrival from Japan Monday afternoon.

The 7-foot-3 slotman is making his Gilas comeback after missing the Cone-coached Gilas crew that won the Asian Games gold last October due to his commitment with his then B. League club Hiroshima.

Sotto last wore the Philippine colors last September when the Nationals routed China, 96-75, in the FIBA World Cup classification game. He accounted for 12 points and nine rebounds in that famous win.

Sotto reports to the Gilas camp for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers fresh from a pair of stellar performances for his current club Yokohama.

Last Sunday, he erupted for 26 markers and 11 boards to power the B-Corsairs to a 90-85 overtime win over Chiba. This came a day after he delivered 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and 10 rebounds in a 79-89 loss to the Jets.

“I’m 100 percent ready. More confident than yung World Cup (campaign) and definitely healthy now. It’s (going to be) more exciting,” said Sotto, who played through a back injury during the WC.