It was supposed to be a perfect plan, where 18-year-old full-blooded top Pinoy NBA prospect Kai Sotto will strut his US-trained stuff during the third window of the FIBA Asia qualifiers scheduled this month.
But when it seemed things were supposed to go the way it was planned, it didn’t because fate intervened.
However, a silver lining to all these is the fact that young as he is, Kai kept his word of being present whenever his country needed his service. He came back to fulfill his promise to play for Gilas Pilipinas, even if it meant foregoing to play in the NBA G League, where he was supposed to showcase his basketball talent together with other top prospects.
A promise is a promise, and Kai kept his word to be available, NBA G League or not.
Now, the FIBA Asia qualifiers that’s supposed to happen in Qatar got stalled again after a variant of the COVID-19 virus was discovered there. So FIBA decided to send the qualifiers back again to the Philippines, just as Gilas Pilipinas players were already preparing to pack their bags to jet to Doha.
But the problem is the back-to-the-Philippines decision by FIBA has no confirmed date yet, and that left young Kai and his handlers in a quandary.
Should they stay or should they go?
The final decision was to go back to the US for Kai to try to rejoin his Ignite team at the G League, which has already started and where his team already won two games.
Yes, it may seem to be a setback missing two important games in the G League and not being to play for the Philippine men’s team after a long wait, but it was all a worthy sacrifice for Kai just so he can fulfill his promise. It was all about the chance to play for his mother land, even if it hit a snag.
Now what team Kai is hoping is that there’s still time to rejoin his Ignite team, of course after undergoing quarantine. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is working with Kai’s US group to make sure that there’s still time to go back and play in the G League as soon as possible.
That was precisely the reason why he left the country in the first place — to train hard and develop his talent to be able to make it to the grandest stage of basketball in the world.
Whichever, playing for flag and country will always be top priority for the young cager just like a dutiful soldier whenever he is needed.
It is a promise that Kai Sotto will no doubt keep.