Remember Batang Gilas’ Kai Sotto-AJ Edu frontcourt?
Twin towers may rarely come in basketball these days, but leagues all over the world has had a lot of them before. The classy, fundamental pairing of Tim Duncan and David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA is just one. If you want to go further back, the Hakeem Olajuwon-Ralph Sampson duo was also a force for the Houston Rockets.
In the PBA, Ginebra boasted before the towering frontline of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
A few years back, Batang Gilas had its own version in Kai Sotto and AJ Edu.
It was, to say the least, a sight to behold for Filipino basketball fans as the two anchored Team Philippines in various under-18 and under-19 tournaments. It was the future of Philippine basketball right before the fans' eyes.
The 7-foot-3 Sotto and 6-foot-10 Edu last played together in the FIBA U19 World Cup back in June 2019. Only it wasn’t exactly a spectacle that time. Edu ended his stint early after suffering a torn ACL tear and torn meniscus 2 minutes into the opener.
In November of 2020, the following year, Edu suffered another knee injury in just his second game of the US NCAA season. He sustained the injury while playing for his collegiate team, the University of Toledo Rockets. The agile big man also missed the most of the 2021-22 season as he recovered.
Now, the Cyprus-born Filipino is inching back to shape. As of writing, he has played 22 games in the current 2022-23 season, averaging 2.7 points and 3.3 boards in 11 minutes per contest for the Toledo Rockets.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said recently that Edu will still be part of the pool for the upcoming FIBA World Cup. But will the 23-year-old cager be healthy enough to contribute? All he says is he is getting there.
“It’s been a good season so far playing for Toledo and very important for me in terms of recovery both mentally and physically,” Edu told One Sports.
Fans who want to see him suit up for the national team have reason to hope.
“I’ve been feeling good on the court and will be ready by the time World Cup comes round,” he added. “I have the full intention to play for Gilas in the 2023 World Cup.”
Edu knows how big it is to still be part of the pool, even after all the setbacks. So he hopes to make the most of it.
“[To] hear that from coach Chot makes me feel very appreciative and even more excited for what’s to come in 2023.”