Kai Sotto pleaded for understanding from fans as he is set to miss Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup due to his commitment to the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League (NBL).
The 7-foot-3 big man said he will be in Adelaide, Australia starting on August 1 to begin his two-week quarantine as the 36ers kick off their preseason preparations for the upcoming 2021-2022 NBL season.
With Sotto joining the 36ers soon, he will not be able to reinforce the national team in the Asia Cup, which will be hosted by Indonesia in August, as well as the King Abdullah Cup, which will be staged in Jordan this July.
"I know this announcement will disappoint some people but I'm asking for your understanding," Sotto wrote on his official Facebook page in Filipino.
Sotto debuted for the senior national team in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, where he posted 9.3 points and 7 rebounds to help the Philippines sweep its group that included Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.
He then flew with the team to Europe for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), averaging 9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in losses to host Serbia and Dominican Republic.
After serving the national team, Sotto said he now has to honor his commitment to the 36ers.
"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," Sotto said.
Sotto also assured fans he will don the national colors again and that he will rally behind Gilas in its upcoming games.
"I will return to Gilas stronger and more experienced from my stint in Australia. I will pray for my teammates for the Asia Cup and I will be one of their loudest fans," Sotto said. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.