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Batang Gilas vs Singapore

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Top prospect Kai Sotto and the Batang Gilas make their highly-anticipated debut as they face the Singaporeans in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) U-16 Championship today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-11 center, whose father Ervin Sotto played in the PBA, will lead the defending champion Batang Gilas against Singapore at 12 noon.

The 14-year-old Sotto, winner of the Rookie of the Year award during the previous UAAP Season after averaging 4.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, and the 6-foot-8 Geo Chiu will be the team’s ‘Twin Tower’.

Both Sotto and Chiu play for Ateneo.

“It’s good that we have height and speed,” said coach Mike Oliver.

Batang Gilas will be up against a team with Filipino lineage in Reuben David Faustino Amado and Jack William Santiago Lascado, born in Dasmariñas and Taguig, respectively.

Aside from Singapore, the Batang Gilas will also face Indonesia tomorrow, versus Thailand on Wednesday and Malaysia on Thursday, with the last two expected to be a close fight according to team manager Andrew Teh.

“We expect tough matches, and the team’s focus is this first game against Singapore,” said Teh, who also managed the team that placed second during the 2013 Asian champion that qualified the team to the U17 World Championship back in 2014.

Other members of the team are Raven Cortez from De La Salle-Zobel, SBC’s RC Calimag and Josh Lazaro, UST’s Bismarck Lina, Chiang Kai Shek’s Rafael Go, NU’s Terrence Fortea and Xavier’s Miguel Tan.