G League and the camp of Kai Sotto announced on Tuesday evening that the 18-year-old Filipino will no longer be part of Ignite and that the separation was “mutual”.
Ignite, G League’s elite prospect program, acts as the bridge for NBA hopefuls to be ready for the upcoming draft and, later on, life as a pro player.
But with the end of the partnership, Sotto’s NBA journey will take longer. And the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas assured the 7-foot-3 big man that it won’t leave his side.
“The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will always be one-hundred percent behind Kai Sotto as he pursues his NBA dream.”
Back in December of last year, Sotto – then in the midst of a year-long contract with the G League – announced his commitment to Gilas.
However, with the G League season and the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers coinciding, Sotto decided to join Gilas instead of Ignite. He missed Ignite’s camp last January and flew back early February.
FIBA then postponed the Qualifiers, while the G League closed its bubble on Sotto despite allowing NBA players to move from the minor league to the big league at any given moment.
Still, Sotto will always have a home with Gilas.
“When Kai announced via social media that he wanted to come home to play for Gilas Pilipinas Men, we welcomed him with open arms because he’ll always have a home with us at the SBP. The same is true for any Filipino basketball player chasing their dreams on the international stage,” Panlilio continued.
“Whatever may happen to their respective paths, they can always be sure that the SBP will be there to provide them a stage where they could perform for their Filipino fans.”
Moreover, the SBP will keep its lines open 24/7 with Sotto if he ever needs assistance on where he plans to head next.
“Although we are saddened with the recent announcement that he will no longer be rejoining Ignite in the NBA G-League, we still wish Kai all the best and we will support him in any way we can,” shared Panlilio.
“Even at his young age, Kai has shown amazing grit and determination to pursue his dreams and we have complete trust that he’ll do us proud.”