Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed Kai Sotto’s departure to the United States on Sunday with hopes to catch up with NBA G League team Ignite just before the end of the league's regular season.

/ 16 February 2021

This supports SBP Director of Operations Butch Antonio’s statement on Saturday morning in the Radyo Singko’s Power & Play that the Filipino prodigy had been preparing for an immediate pullout.

“We’re working with him and his group in the US to make sure that there is time for him to join his team Ignite,” said Antonio.

“We have to remember that even before all of these things happened, when he was planning to join the NBA and when he planned his foreign trip, especially when he first went to America, he made it clear that every time that if the country needs him, he won’t refuse to represent the country with the national team,” he added.

The 7-foot-3 center arrived in the Philippines last February 2 to unite with Gilas Pilipinas and play for its FIBA Asia Cup qualifying games in Doha, Qatar that was scheduled to start on Feb. 18 but was pushed to be shelved for a meantime due to the country’s order to cancel all events there.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will be hosting the final window as originally planned, but nothing is guaranteed now and it forced Sotto to fly back to the United States instead.

Upon arriving in the United States, Sotto will have to go through quarantine before entering the bubble at Walt Disney World in Florida where the NBA G League bubble is being held.

The earliest Sotto can play for Ignite will be on Monday (Manila time) against the Greensboro Swarm.

With the time frame, Sotto would’ve missed six Ignite games already. But he can make up for the lost time and play a maximum of nine matches until the end of the regular season – and three games at the most in the knockout-style playoffs.

Team Ignite is currently at the top of the standings with four other teams, behind the stellar play of Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.