Adelaide assures no conflict as Kai Sotto reaffirms Gilas commitment
MANILA, Philippines—The Adelaide 36ers gave an assurance that there won’t be any scheduling problems once Kai Sotto gets called up for national team duties.
Sotto, who has yet to make his debut in the senior Gilas Pilipinas team, announced on Wednesday that he’s joining the 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League after he left G League Ignite in February of this year.
Adelaide general manager Jeff Van Gronigen said the team is used to working with the Boomers in the past as center Isaac Humphries and guard Josh Giddey also play for the national team.
“Our club works with the Philippine national team program,” said Van Gronigen in a virtual press conference. “We are used to this, we have many players from within the Australian Boomers national team that are also Adelaide 36ers players. So we are used to working within the FIBA windows, we’re used to communicating with the coaches, we know the coaches very well.”
Not only is Van Gronigen familiar with the Boomers, but he’s also familiar with Gilas Pilipinas director Tab Baldwin.
Both he and 36ers head coach Conner Henry have known Baldwin even before Sotto was even considered to be part of the Adelaide roster.
Baldwin does have an extensive coaching background in international play, having coached New Zealand from 2001 to 2006 and was also a five-time New Zealand NBL champion from 1995 to 2000 with 1998 the only year he failed to win a championship.
“I have gone and seen Tab a couple of years ago, before Kai Sotto was even thought about for the Adelaide 36ers,” said Van Gronigen.
Sotto reaffirmed his commitment to Gilas Pilipinas after he previously committed to the team in February before he left Ignite.
“I respect Tab greatly and Tab’s also worked for many years having to balance the needs of club teams around the world with US national programs, both in New Zealand, and the Philippines so we are very comfortable integrating national team players into our program,” said Van Gronigen.
“If a player is a national team player, what it means is that he’s a good player. So we work around, and we make sure that both our clubs—the national club, and his professional club—are respected, and we’re expecting that to happen, we know that it will happen in both directions.”