Kai Zachary Sotto, the 6’11 Ateneo Blue Eaglets player, who plays center, will be making his debut in the SEABA U-16 Championship to be held in the Philippines from May 14-18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This is Sotto’s first time to compete in an international game as member of the Batang Gilas pool.
The said five-day tournament will be the 15-year-old’s first appearance outside the UAAP. The son of former PBA center Ervin Sotto did a splendid job in the UAAP juniors division this year, where he was awarded the Rookie of the Year honors after helping the Blue Eagles secure a semifinals appearance. They eventually lost to the champions Far Eastern University-Diliman in the Final Four.
The much talked about high school stand out is under the coaching of Mike Oliver, who is out to lead the country to its fourth straight title and earn qualification to the FIBA Asia U-16 Championship later this year. This is the second time that Oliver is coaching the U-16 team for the SEABA title, leading them to the championship two years ago in the tournament held at Cagayan de Oro City.
To be housed in the Holiday Inn Galeria, their official hotel for the SEABA meet, Batang Gilas is set to take on four other nations in the single-round tournament that will give the title to the team with the best record. All 12 teams along with the technical group and SEABA officials will be billeted there.
The SEABA U-16 championships will be held in the mornings before the main events featuring the Gilas Pilipinas against six other countries in the South East Asia region. Ticket prices for the Batang Gilas competitions are discounted, amounting to Php 200 for the best seats.
Catch Kai Sotto debut for the Batang Gilas against Singapore on May 14, followed by games against Indonesia (May 15) and Thailand (May 17) before wrapping up its campaign against Malaysia on May 18.