Limpag: Kai-watching

SINCE now would have been the time for Kai Sotto to wrap up his medical requirements before he could join the G-League bubble, I expected to hear news of him joining the G-League bubble.

The news we all heard, to put it mildly, was surprising.

The country’s best hope for a homegrown talent to make it to the NBA won’t be joining the G-League team Ignite, which of course would again raise the same question that him leaving Ignite for Gilas was a wrong move.

Why leave the G-League just days before your debut for an uncertain stint?

Spilled milk, I say.

Of course, we can scour over the G-League statement and speculate. And we all know that official statements don’t show the whole picture and that sometimes, those who write about the statement know the real story but are forced to not share the real story.

As for me, I think this can be a blessing in disguise for Kai Sotto.

Make no mistake. I think the attempt to join Gilas was ill-advised. What could this 18-year-old do that our PBA centers couldn’t in the international stage? Puzzling as that was, at least, it will all lead to Kai disappearing in the basketball radar for the next few months.

I mean, the absence of local sports action has made Kai-watching almost a daily habit. He’s 18, a diamond in the rough and I hope this divorce from expectations will allow him, and his handlers, more time to charter a path to the NBA. To be honest, the moment I learned the G-League had signed him, I thought an NBA stint would be next because that’s the natural progression, right?

A G-League season followed by the NBA draft.

But he’s just 18 and a couple of years ago, was playing high school basketball in the Philippines. And on his shoulders rest the hope of a 100-million-strong nation of seeing a homegrown talent play in the NBA.

That’s why all his moves are being over-analyzed and all the moves of his handlers are being dissected.

I hope the latest news from the G-League will let Kai disappear for a while. Maybe even allow him to be a normal 18-year-old, not an 18-year-old whose actions are analyzed ad infinitum by an army of millions.

Because I know that wherever we sit in the Kai Sotto debate, we are all united for one thing, to see Kai play in the NBA. That won’t happen after this G-League season, that’s for sure, but I know that we all hope that it will happen some day.

And to get there, maybe we should ignore Kai in the next few months and leave him be.