NBA G League Ignite moves on from Kai Sotto

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 24) – Filipino basketball prodigy Kai Sotto parted ways with NBA G League Ignite after both sides agreed on a "mutual decision," the team announced on Tuesday.

"Kai and the team both understood the challenges for him to rejoin Ignite given the current international travel constraints, quarantine times and health and safety protocols," said Shareef Abdur-Rahim, NBA G League president.

The 7-foot-3 young Filipino basketball sensation was training with Ignite until he left the team on January to return home and train with Gilas Pilipinas for the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Sotto did not immediately joined Gilas' training 'bubble' at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna as he underwent quarantine protocols.

Sotto's gamble to go back home went for naught after Qatar health authorities cancelled the FIBA Asia tournament, scheduled Feb. 15-22, due to rising COVID-19 cases in the Middle East nation.

The Philippines was the original host of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, but national basketball body Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced their hosting withdrawal due to tight travel restrictions imposed by the national government. After Qatar's hosting cancellation, FIBA reinstated the basketball-crazy nation as the tournament's host with playdates yet to be finalized.

Sotto returned to the United States last Valentine's Day, facing uncertainty on his basketball career's path after the sudden sequence of events.

"Kai will always be part of the extended Ignite family and we wish him continued success as he pursues his NBA dreams," added Abdur-Rahim.

Ignite currently sports a 5-3 record, bannered by NBA top draft prospects like Filipino-American guard Jalen Green. The squad, playing inside a 'bubble' at Orlando, Florida, is coached by three-time NBA champion Brian Shaw.