SBP hopeful of Kai Sotto arrival for Gilas training

Published January 28, 2021, 11:58 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from FIBA

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas continues to work ways for Kai Sotto to join Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers as soon as it can.

SBP president Al Panlilio said time is of the essence as it continues to finalize details on how Sotto can fly in from the United States and take part in the Gilas training bubble in Calamba, Laguna.

“Last time we spoke, we were just clearing some legal documentation and we’re hoping for him to fly as soon as possible kasi he needs to undergo quarantine,” Panlilio said, referring to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period Sotto needs to observe upon arrival.

“So the sooner he leaves the US, actually the better for him so that we don’t eat up on the days of practice,” added the SBP head.

Sotto made a commitment to play for Gilas in the third and last installment of the continental qualifiers, which will now be held in Doha, Qatar following the SBP’s decision to cancel the hosting of the Group A where the national team is bracketed and Group C matches in Clark.

Read: Doha to host Gilas, Group A matches for Fiba qualifiers

That would mean that the 7-foot-3 youngster will miss the first part of the G League Ignite’s stint in the NBA G-League bubble in Orlando, Florida. Ignite coach Brian Shaw even suggested uncertainties surrounding the timetable for the 18-year-old’s return.

Adding complications to Sotto’s itinerary is the aforementioned cancellation of FIBA’s Pampanga bubble which was initially slated for Feb. 18 to 22. No word if the same dates are going to be followed in Doha.

The G League season starts Feb. 11 until March 7, with the Ignite scheduled to play 15 games.

“I know he has commitments. Initially after the window (in Pampanga), he’s supposed to go back to the States right away and go back to the G-League,” Panlilio said. “The window is very short so we want to make sure we maximize that and bring him over.”