Kai Sotto will not be part of Gilas Pilipinas for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup which is slated from August 17 to 29 in in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The 19-year old Sotto announced the latest development of his career on his Facebook account.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about whether I will be joining Gilas for the FIBA Asia Cup this coming August. The SBP and my EWP team have been trying to figure out what is the best balance for the team and my personal development. And for a while I was really hoping that I would be able to join my teammates in Indonesia,” wrote the 7-foot-3 center.
“But as you all know, I already committed to join the NBL starting the 2021/2022 season and I will be in Adelaide on August 1 to start my two week quarantine, get settled and start preparing for preseason activities. Playing in the NBL is a critical step in my basketball journey and now that I have fulfilled my qualifier window and OQT commitments to the National Team, I want to focus on playing well for the Adelaide 36ers and focus 1000% on giving the 36ers all my best,” he added.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio confirmed the development Wednesday.
“We were told that Kai would be fulfilling his commitments with Adelaide. His management team informed us that Kai is bound to join his new team as soon as possible. With this development, we are moving forward with our preparations without Kai,” said Gregorio.
Sotto was an integral part of the national team during its stints in the Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia. He averaged 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in the third and final window of the qualifiers and then contributed 9.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in the OQT against Serbia and the Dominican Republic.
The son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto begged for understanding and asked for support as he embarks on his journey with Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL.
“Alam ko po na may mga ma disappoint sa announcement na ito pero hinihingi ko po ang inyong paguunawa. Babalik ho ako sa Gilas na mas malakas at mas maraming natutunan sa aking paglalaro sa Australia. Ipagdadasal ko po ang mga kasamahan ko para sa Asia Cup and I will be one of their loudest fans! Maraming salamat po sa inyong pagsusubaybay sa aking basketball journey.”