Even with all the support given to Kai Sotto in suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas, the young athlete should have made a reconsideration of joining the national team when his NBA dream could impede.

/ 31 January 2021

Just like any other baller’s dream, Sotto was transparent in his desire to play in the NBA court. However, the situation has turned when Sotto reported his detour to represent the country instead. 

Although admired by the young athlete’s announcement to trade his NBA G-league Ignite season to join the national team, I still believe that in Gilas Pilipinas’ current lineup and that his presence in the court is not much needed. 

Despite the great development of joining Gilas Pilipinas, leaving the NBA opportunity for the time being and playing in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifier in February is unnecessary given that the national team is still undefeated with a 3-0 record.  

Sotto was set to be part of the NBA G-League which is set to kick off its bubble tournament in February at Walt Disney World in Florida. 

While the tightening of travel restrictions due to the arrival of the new COVID variant resulted in the country scrapping the hosting of the third and final window. Leaving Qatar the stage to the host window. 

The change of location and schedule put Sotto’s plan into the uncertainty that he won’t make it in time to rejoin his Ignite team. 

The delayed opportunity will most likely happen to Sotto due to the possibility of not joining the Ignite squad in the G-League because of the prolonged quarantine protocols—for which he traveled internationally. 

Supposedly, this could be his debut in the US tournament that could lead him to become the first native Filipino to play in the NBA. Being the player that people raved about, focusing on his NBA journey with his excellent skill set should have been his priority. 

For athletes, representing the country in international tournaments is a fulfillment, not to mention, playing as the first homegrown Filipino player in the NBA could still be a pride to the country. 

Although, based on his past Ignite scrimmages, Sotto can hardly perform in the team’s offensive patterns. This resulted in mock drafts of the top media outlets in the States as undrafted. 

No longer the player he was when he was with Batang Gilas and the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, Sotto is no longer the main gunner for the team. Considering his height, there is no denying of Sotto’s defensive prowess, however, being a complete player with both offense and defense in his arsenal would make him truly unstoppable.

People might have expected more from him but dealing with Gilas and G League was undoubtedly different. And Sotto is still proving himself in the tough competition in the G-league. 

Surely, the qualifiers are tougher than they look. And this leads to a question—does the Gilas stint will gain him a seat in the 2021 NBA draft, knowing that Sotto will be busy in FIBA leading him to miss the majority of NBA Ignite games?

Rather than preparing for the NBA draft, Sotto’s decision to play with Gilas Pilipinas is final. We can still hope that whatever course of a decision he makes, the trajectory will lead to optimism to advance in his dream to play in the NBA in the future.