SBP backs Kai Sotto amid Ignite fallout

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 25) – The country's national basketball body expressed its full support to Filipino basketball prodigy Kai Sotto after he parted ways with NBA G League Ignite.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) emphasized they will continue to be behind Sotto in his chase to play at the National Basketball Association.

"Although we are saddened with the recent announcement that he will be 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 he can," the SBP said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The SBP also commended Sotto's grit and determination in pursuing his dreams, believing that the 18-year-old basketball wunderkind will make the Philippines proud someday.

The Ignite squad announced on Tuesday that Sotto will part ways with the team amid the ongoing NBA G League season 'bubble' in Orlando, Florida.

RELATED: NBA G League Ignite moves on from Kai Sotto

The 7-foot-3 Sotto rose into prominence when he led the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eaglets into the UAAP Juniors' championship in 2018, winning the Finals Most Valuable Player award in the process.

In 2019, Sotto announced he will join the Atlanta-based The Skill Factory basketball program to start his path of becoming the first full-blooded Filipino to play in the NBA. He forewent his college eligibility to play for NBA G League Ignite, the league's new developmental team for aspiring NBA draftees.

Sotto surprised everyone when he left Ignite in January to return home and train with Gilas Pilipinas for the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. His 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.

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