Mendoza: Thinking out loud

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

Time to move on even as we’ve lost hosting rights of the third window of the Fiba Asia Cup. As true sportsmen, we need to fly to Qatar where the tournament was transferred. With or without Kai Sotto, the Qatar trip is a must.

Travel restrictions arising from new health threats of the virus variant have barred South Korea and Indonesia from flying to the Philippines. Gilas Pilipinas would have battled the Koreans twice and the Indonesians once on Feb. 18 to 22 at Clark Freeport in Pampanga.

But while there is a new battlefield that is Doha, the Qatar capital, the window three format has remained unchanged: Gilas needs just one win from its three matches—two against South Korea and one versus Indonesia—to advance to the Fiba Asia Cup proper in August.

To their credit, Filipino officials have expressed their gratitude to their Qatar counterparts. Qatar has kindly offered to host the third window, possibly in March, even as its hosting schedule is now up to its neck, given that it has also accommodated two other divisional qualifiers among eight countries also competing for slots in the Fiba Asia Cup proper.

A glass to Qatar.

So that while our 20 or so aspirants for Gilas inclusion are training in earnest in the Calamba bubble in Laguna, it might be wise enough to form the Final 12 this early to give ample time for their travel papers to be processed, notwithstanding the attendant health hurdles needed to be covered with dispatch.

Just thinking out loud, tocayo Al (Panlilio, the basketball chief).

And while we do need Kai Sotto mainly for his ceiling, is his presence really a must?

Yes, if only because Sotto, at 7-foot-3, will serve as a deterrent to the two towering Americans that South Korea and Indonesia have naturalized for use in the third window.

Despite obvious kinks as regards Sotto’s American league schedule seemingly clashing with his Qatar appearance, the 18-year-old’s undiminished desire to join import-less Gilas is truly commendable.

But still, should Sotto’s stint with Ignite in the NBA farm league compromise his standing, wouldn’t it be more prudent if we just let go of him?

Again, just thinking out loud, tocayo Al.