Kai Sotto (Photo from Chooks to Go)

Team Ignite coach Brian Shaw admitted being surprised by the news that Kai Sotto has announced his recommitment to Gilas Pilipinas.

“That’s news to me. I haven’t heard that yet,” said Shaw shortly after a 125-99 loss against veteran NBA G League members Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

But Shaw was supportive of Sotto’s decision, adding that the more basketball he plays, the more beneficial it would turn out.

“That’s a good thing. If he wanted to play and represent his country and try to help them qualify for the upcoming international tournaments,” he added.

Sotto declared himself available for Gilas Pilipinas, making it his debut appearance in the men’s national basketball team, in a recorded video shown during the FIBA Smart Global Press Conference Friday.

The development opened the possibility of Sotto playing for the third leg of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in February in a bubble setup in Clark, Pampanga and in different qualifying tournaments leading to the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Read: Clark to host FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in February

Shaw, however, firmly believes that the G League program would bring more competitiveness in Sotto should he decide to stay with Ignite.

“Kai, as much as basketball as he could play is going to benefit him. I still believe that the competition here, y’know if you were in the G League bubble, would be better competition that he will be playing there,” he added. “If that’s the decision that he’ll make, we’ll have to live with it.”

Still, the three-time NBA coach lauded Sotto for his overall performance despite putting up limited numbers with six points, six rebounds, and one block in the second scrimmage.

Read: Kai is ‘getting’ stronger, but Ignite coach Shaw wants more offensive involvement

Shaw has a good explanation for that and said Sotto cannot be judged alone by how many points he gets.

“The way the game goes, he’s not gonna put up super great numbers in a situation like this because it’s a guard game,” said Shaw. “He doesn’t get as many touches as everyone else does but you can see his skill set, his IQ.

“He’s getting stronger, he’s getting better understanding, he’s improving and I’m really, really impressed with his skill set for guy his size.”

During Ignite’s first scrimmage loss, 113-107, the former Ateneo high school standout posted five points, five rebounds and two blocks. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/12/19/ignite-coach-shaw-surprised-but-supportive-of-sottos-recommitment-to-gilas/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ignite-coach-shaw-surprised-but-supportive-of-sottos-recommitment-to-gilas)