Filipino sensation Kai Sotto will not suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the King Abdullah Cup and the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas bared the development on Wednesday (July 21), stating that Sotto has pledged commitment to Australia club team Adelaide 36ers in the coming months.
"We were told that Kai would be fulfilling his commitments with Adelaide," SBP Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio told Yahoo Philippines. "His management team informed us that Kai is bound to join his new team as soon as possible."
Since the start of the FIBA Asia Cup buildup, SBP has had discussions with Sotto's agency East West Private and Adelaide 36ers with regards to the 19-year-old's availability, as disclosed by Gilas program director and head coach Tab Baldwin in The Link Podcast.
Baldwin and SBP will now have to focus on finding ways to fill the huge void left by the 7-foot-3 center.
"With this development, we are moving forward with our preparations without Kai," Gregorio added.
Sotto made an impact for the Philippines in his recent national team stint in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.
In the FIBA ACQ, he averaged 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Then in the Belgrade OQT, he normed 9.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in a two-game stretch where Gilas faced Serbia and Dominican Republic.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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