Filipino big man Kai Sotto is set to skip Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the 2023 Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in China slated to kick off on Wednesday, team manager Butch Antonio confirmed.
Sotto remains unavailable as he is still nursing a back injury he sustained while playing for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Gilas Pilipinas, which is on the final stretch of its preparations for the 2023 FIBA World Cup late this month, will first play Asian powerhouse Iran on August 4 at the Heyuan Sport Gymnasium before taking on Senegal on August 4 at the Jiangmen En Ping Sport Gymnasium.
The Filipinos will then play Senegal anew on August 6 and Iran again on August 7.
Without Sotto, Gilas is expected to rely on other big men in June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu as both naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame will also miss the tournament.
Jordan Clarkson, meanwhile, is expected to arrive straight in China on August 6, as per Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio.
—Bea Micaller/JMB, GMA Integrated News