ALTHOUGH Kai Sotto blew his chance to play in the NBA G League, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said it remains 100 percent supportive of the young Filipinos’ bid to pursue his NBA dream.
“Although we are saddened with the recent announcement that he (Kai) will no longer be rejoining Ignite in the NBA G League, we still wish Kai all the best and we will support him in any way we can,” said SBP president Al S. Panlilio in a statement.
On Tuesday night, the NBA G League announced the 7-foot-3 Sotto would no longer be joining the Ignite team in the current bubble season in Orlando.
The league said the parting of ways was a ‘mutual decision.’
The development came just a week after Sotto returned to the U.S. after his aborted debut with the Gilas Pilipinas men’s team following the cancellation of the Clark and Qatar windows of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Sotto was already practicing with the Ignite team prior to the G League bubble when he and his handler EWP chose to honor the commitment to play for the national team in the Feb. 18 to 22 window that was eventually postponed.
Panlilio said he appreciated the effort made by Sotto of flying back to the country and undergo all quarantine protocols to be able to represent the country anew.
“When Kai announced via social media that he wanted to come home to play for Gilas Pilipinas Men, we welcomed him with open arms because he’ll always have a home with us at the SBP,” said Panlilio.
“The same is true for any Filipino basketball players chasing their dreams on the international stage. Whatever may happen to their respective paths, they can always be sure that the SBP will be there to provide them a stage where they could perform for their Filipino fans.”
Sotto and his handler have yet to issue a formal statement on the next course of action the former Ateneo stalwart will take in a bid to pursue his NBA dream.
Whatever it may be, the SBP remains confident in the talent of the lanky Filipino.
“Even at his young age, Kai has shown amazing grit and determination to pursue his dreams and we have complete trust that he’ll do us proud,” said Panlilio.