KAI Sotto will no longer be playing for Gilas Pilipinas for the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) director for operations Butch Antonio shared that the 18-year-old center is set to return to the US to rejoin Ignite in the NBA G League bubble in Orlando, and thus delaying his seniors team debut.
"Right now, the plan is to have him go back," he told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala on Saturday.
"Nag-pullout na siya sa bubble. He has to continue his quarantine in his residence. We're working with him and his group in the US to make sure that there is time for him to join his team at makasali siya sa team niya na Ignite. Hopefully by next week, maayos na yun."
Sotto and his father Ervin arrived to the country last Feb. 2 to join Gilas' buildup at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna in anticipation for the last three games of the Philippines in the qualifiers for the continental tilt.
The hosting of the said window was given back to Clark late Friday night after Doha had to cancel the games due to the outbreak of the new strain of COVID-19 in the Middle Eastern country.
But with the schedule yet to be fixed, the SBP felt that it was better for Sotto to abandon his plans and instead, continue his career in the NBA G League for the meantime.
Nevertheless, Antonio pointed out that as much as plans didn't work out the way it did, the SBP still lauds Sotto for his continued dedication to Gilas Pilipinas.
"We have to remember that even before all of these things happened, when he was planning to join the NBA and when he planned his foreign trip, lalo na nung na-sure niya na pupunta siya ng Amerika, he made it clear that every time, basta kailangan siya ng ating bayan, di niya tatanggihan at di niya tatalikuran ang kanyang obligasyon para i-represent ang ating bayan with the national team which is really commendable as far as how we should look at Kai," he said.
"It may be a setback for his Ignite career, and understandably so, but ang dapat tignan ng tao dito is it really is a sacrifice. And you have to give it to him, yung kanyang commitment," he said. "Natuloy yung Doha o hindi, he's here and he made sure na yung kanyang promise, tinutupad niya."