Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao is expected to submit his 24-man roster for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this weekend.
7-foot-2 Kai Sotto is not one of them.
“I think there’s no need,” said Guiao. “First, his availability. I guess Kai’s back in the US for training, and we don’t want to disrupt his progress.”
“Second, I think we have enough big or tall guys to help win (the gold) in the Southeast Asian Games. If it’s the future qualifiers (like the World Cup), then that’s the time we’ll need his (Sotto) services,” added Guiao.
The 17-year-old Sotto recently played for the Gilas Pilipinas Youth in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece. He is now in Atlanta as he resumes his US training in hopes to make it to the NBA in two years.
Guiao said the 17 players in the national team training pool are shoo-ins to the roster of the 24-man team the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will submit to the Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).
These are reigning PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Robert Bolick, Poy Erram, Paul Lee, Marcio Lassiter, Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Matthew Wright, Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle.
The status of Standhardinger and Pringle are naturalized under FIBA rules, but because the SEA Games Federation has different set of rules, the two can play as regular players.
Guiao said players from the PBA who signified intentions to play for Gilas in the SEAG would likely be included too, like Chris Ross and Chris Newsome. The same goes to college stalwarts like Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo and incoming UP Maroon player Ricci Rivero.
“It’s going to be a mixture of pros and amateur players,” said Guaio, who recently discussed the formation of the national team to the SEAG to SBP chief Al Panlilio for the Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 event.
Guiao also said that there is no need for naturalized player Andray Blatche to compete in the SEA Games, or even NBA player Jordan Clarkson – a Fil-Am – of the Cleveland Cavaliers.