Team Ignite coach doubtful of Kai Sotto’s availability for G League season

Published January 28, 2021, 2:34 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Kai Sotto (Photo from Chooks to Go)

G League Ignite coach Brian Shaw is unsure as to when Kai Sotto can join the team in the NBA G League bubble once he completes his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Shaw confirmed that Sotto will miss the first part of the G League season that will be played at the Walt Disney World complex after committing to reinforce Gilas for continental qualifiers slated late next month.

The G League bubble starts Feb. 11 Manila time with the Ignite and the rest of the teams slated to play 15 regular games each in a matter of 24 days, and the 7-foot-3 Sotto could miss most if not the whole duration of the season with him expected to undergo quarantine measures once the qualifiers conclude.

“That was the decision Kai and his team thought was important so we supported him on being part of that. And unfortunately, a lot of it is during the time where we’re gonna be in the bubble. And so we just wish him the best,” Shaw said in a Zoom interview with US media reporters.

“We worked with him up until the point that he left and hopefully he’s gonna go there, perform well and then depending on the timing of everything, especially because he’s traveling internationally.

“The quarantine times can be a lot longer and we don’t know how’s that gonna play out in terms of him coming back and joining the team or not. But we want him to do well in those competitions and if the timing and everything that can come back, we’ll see what happens then,” he concluded.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is still working on when Sotto can join at the earliest the Gilas preparation for the window. But the situation got more complex after the federation cancelled the country’s hosting of the two groups due to travel restrictions in light of numerous COVID-19 variants.

It is still unknown at the moment as to where the three Gilas games — twice against South Korea and one opposite Indonesia — will be played.

Without Sotto, the Ignite will open the bubble campaign on Feb. 11 against the Santa Cruz Warriors who will be led by former NBA player Jeremy Lin.

The Ignite’s other games in Orlando are against the Oklahoma City Blue (Feb. 13), Raptors 905 (Feb. 14), Iowa Wolves (Feb. 16), Erie Bayhawks (Feb. 18), Westchester Knicks (Feb. 19), Greensboro Swarm (Feb. 22), Memphis Hustle (Feb. 25), Salt Lake City Stars (Feb. 27), Canton Charge (Feb. 28), Delaware Blue Coats (March 2), Agua Caliente Clippers (March 4), Rio Grand Valley Vipers (March 5) and Austin Spurs (March 7).