Though it is not taking any shortcuts with the arrival of Kai Sotto, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is doing everything it can to get him back home.
Federation president Al Panlilio has decreed that the 18-year-old Filipino must be able to train with Gilas for the Doha window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
“There’s a strong marching order from our president Al Panlilio to get him over here, and there’s just so many moving parts, and it’s a bit of a challenge for us,” said SBP special assistant to the secretary Ryan Gregorio on the Chasedown.
“Merong US protocols and Philippine protocols na kailangang intindihin, but sa management team ni Kai, we’ve gotten a very good response from East West Private led by Ms. Chao Espaldon.”
It has taken several long days and sleepless nights for the personnel of the federation just to make this possible.
It was only a week ago that Sotto was able to gain the blessing of the G League to join Gilas. But by then, almost the entire pool had arrived in Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
As they say, a miracle is another word for hard work. Sotto will finally arrive sometime next week.
“It’s taking longer than expected because of the pandemic and we’re supposed to be cautious. Hopefully by early next week, we’ll see Kai in the Philippines.”
With that, Sotto will still have time to train with Gilas in the Calambubble before the team leaves for Qatar on the 13th. But for Gregorio, the most important thing is for Sotto to get to join his Gilas brothers.
“Ang importante dito, as soon as possible we can get him in the Philippines and we’ll see it from there.”