The Adelaide 36ers assured that they won’t stand in the way of Kai Sotto’s commitment to represent Gilas Pilipinas in FIBA tournaments.
36ers general manager Jeff Van Groningen said during a roundtable interview featuring Sotto last Wednesday, April 21, that the Australian club has been used to situations wherein players are called to play for their national teams.
“We are used to this,” Van Groningen said. “We have many players within the Australia Boomers national team that are Adelaide 36ers players so we are used to work within the FIBA windows, we’re used to communicating with coaches and we know the coaches very well.”
The NBL usually halts its season during FIBA windows, which would allow the 7-foot-3 to play for the Philippines without any worries of scheduling conflict.
The setup is unlike during last February when Sotto was supposed to skip the early part of the Ignite’s campaign in the NBA G League bubble in Florida to suit up for Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
But the Qualifiers were postponed after Doha encountered a rise in COVID-19 cases while Sotto eventually parted ways with the Ignite despite returning to the United States.
“This is a two-way arrangement,” said Gilas program director Tab Baldwin. “We have to be conscious of Adelaide’s requirement, Adelaide’s goals and ambitions for their franchise and they are right. They are used to these national team relationships.”
The 36ers signed Sotto to a two-year deal, with an option for a third in a move that will give the 18-year-old the chance to boost his stock becoming eligible to enter the NBA Draft next year.
Sotto won’t be joining Adelaide until August for preseason training, giving him more time to focus on national team duties.
He already committed himself to play for Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.