Philippine basketball

Kai Sotto on Navarro case: ‘Our own people stopping us from achieving greatness’

Philip Matel
Kai Sotto on Navarro case: ‘Our own people stopping us from achieving greatness’

SUPPORT. Kai Sotto (left) backs up Will Navarro.

FIBA

‘I'm sorry but this is crazy,’ says Kai Sotto as fellow Gilas Pilipinas player Will Navarro fails to get SBP clearance to play in Korea

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto vented his ire on social media Sunday, September 18, calling the refusal of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to clear William Navarro to play in Korea “crazy.”

Tweeting and subsequently posting on his Instagram story, the Adelaide 36ers center said “our own people” should not be a hindrance from choosing their career path.

Although Sotto did not directly name anyone, his posts came after news broke that FIBA denied Navarro’s request to play for the Seoul Samsung Thunders as the SBP argued that the 6-foot-6 forward needs to honor his existing contract with Gilas Pilipinas and PBA club NorthPort.

“I’m sorry but this is crazy. THIS HAS TO STOP. You got players who’ve been working hard and dreaming to play basketball at the highest level they can reach and we got our own people stopping us from achieving greatness,” said Sotto.

“At the end of the day, one’s success is everyone’s. So we have to help each other go up! Not down.” 

Last September 12, FIBA struck down the Korea Basketball Association’s request for a letter of clearance after the SBP said Navarro is contractually obligated to play for Gilas Pilipinas and PBA club NorthPort.

Navarro was picked second by Batang Pier in the special Gilas round of the PBA Season 46 Draft in 2021.

“The SBP respects players’ rights to look for greener pastures. But players also need to respect agreements they have entered into their teams,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios in a statement on Sunday.

“The SBP does not intend to unduly prevent players from furthering their careers with other teams here or overseas. But it is a fundamental and ethical practice for players to honor their existing contracts with their mother teams.”

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