Home>Sports>Basketball>No Orlando bubble for Kai

No Orlando bubble for Kai

KAI Sotto will not take part in the ongoing NBA G League season after the Ignite on late Tuesday announced that both camps have mutually agreed that the young Filipino basketball phenom can no longer enter the Orlando, Florida bubble.

Despite the career setback, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced that it will always give its 100% support for Sotto as he continue to pursue his NBA dream.

Last month, the 7-foot-3 Sotto missed Ignite’s training camp and later notified the team that he will be playing for the Philippine team in the now-canceled Doha, Qatar window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, instead of joining the start of the team’s regular season campaign which began last February 10.

Sotto arrived on February 2 and, together with his dad Ervin, entered quarantine. The Las Piñas native was only able to enter the Gilas Pilipinas training bubble at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna six days later.

However, the third and final window of the continental qualifiers, which was supposed to be played on February 18-23, was postponed due to the rising COVID-19 cases in Qatar.

Sotto flew back to the United States on February 14, two days after Gilas wrapped up its training camp for the aborted Doha bubble.

Ultimately, the Ignite and Sotto have decided that it was best not for the 18-year-old prospect to join the team. The Ignite have already played eight games inside the bubble, sitting in sixth place with a 5-3 record.

Fil-Am Jalen Green, along with NBA Draft prospects Daishen Nix, Isaiah Todd, Jonathan Kuminga and Principal Singh are leading the charge for the Walnut Creek, California-based pro pathway team.

Kai and the team both understood the challenges for him to rejoin Ignite given the current international travel constraints, quarantine times, and health and safety protocols,” said NBA G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim in a statement.

The NBA G League hopes that Sotto continues with his journey to fulfill his ultimate dream.

Kai will always be part of the extended Ignite family and we wish him continued success as he pursues his NBA dreams,” said Abdur-Rahim.

The SBP has thrown its full support for Sotto after the G League breakup.

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 federation head Al Panlilio in a statement.

The same is true for any Filipino basketball player 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,” he added.

Saddened with the recent announcement that Sotto will no longer be rejoining Ignite in the NBA G League, the SBP still wishes Sotto all the best and will support him in any way it can.

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