Updated Nov 14, 2018, 3:10:02 PM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — Philippine men's national basketball team head coach Yeng Guiao believes in the potential of Ricci Rivero and Kai Sotto.
"I call these guys investments into the future of Philippine basketball. We don't lose anything by putting them in the pool. We actually gain a lot by just having them there," Guiao told CNN Philippines Sports Desk Tuesday.
Rivero is one of the rising stars in the collegiate ranks, while Sotto has been towering over his opponents in the high school level.
The two are part of the 20-man pool that is gearing up for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Guiao said Rivero caught his eyes after showing toughness against the top PBA players in practice.
"I was impressed with Ricci Rivero. The first time we called for try outs, he was there. He was holding his own against the best in the PBA and he's just in college," he said.
On the other hand, Guiao explained the reason behind the inclusion of the 7-foot-1 Sotto.
"I thought he's dominating high school basketball and he's getting a little bit bored playing with those young guys. I just wanted to make him feel how it is to play with the big guys and being mentored by them. This is an opportunity for him to accelerate his development and at the same time stake our future on him," he said.
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The Philippines will go up against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.