May 24, 2024

Tim Cone pays Kai Sotto ultimate compliment: ‘He is going to dominate Asia’

Tim Cone pays Kai Sotto ultimate compliment: ‘He is going to dominate Asia’
Gilas swept the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. Photo (c) RM Chua

There’s no doubt in Tim Cone’s mind that Kai Sotto is the next big — literally and figuratively — thing in Asia, barring any major injuries.

Cone paid the 7-foot-3 Sotto the ultimate compliment in the aftermath of Gilas’ 106-53 win over Chinese Taipei in the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Sunday.

“Right now, if I may say, he is going to absolutely dominate Asia. I’ve always felt that," Cone said of his prized national team slot man.

“If you get him to the right spots, he can absolutely dominate Asia.”

In Sunday’s win, Kaiju showed Filipino fans glimpses of things to come. Sotto asserted his might inside the paint, showing his skills that run the gamut from putbacks to hook shots.

He wound up with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in over 23 minutes of play. 18 points are his career-high for Gilas Men.

Against Hong Kong in the first window of the qualifiers’ opener, Sotto made his presence felt on both ends as he ended up with a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds. 15 rebounds are his career-high for Gilas Men.

[RELATED STORY: Gilas uses strong third-quarter outburst to nip Hong Kong]

Now the challenge is to get him to the next level.

“For him the next part is to get up to the European level and NBA level. And we’re hoping we can help him get to that level,” Cone said.

“They may be a time we might lose Kai, he might not be able to join windows cause he might be in the NBA  and we’ll be very very proud of that.”