By Jonas Terrado

Kai Sotto will no longer join Mighty Sports-Creative Pacific in the Dubai Invitational Basketball Tournament which starts Thursday in the United Arab Emirates.

Kai Sotto of the Philippines puts up a shot against Serbia ( photo)

Kai Sotto during his stint with Gilas Pilipinas Youth in the FIBA U-19 World Cup. ( photo)

The team said Sotto won’t make the trip to Dubai due to “unresolved logistical and scheduling issues on his part,” thus leaving Mighty Sports without the 7-foot-2 beanpole who in the United States pursuing his NBA dreams.

Mighty coach Charles Tiu, however, remains confident that Sotto’s absence won’t hinder the team’s chances of winning the competition.

“Despite the absence of Kai, our team is still complete with a formidable lineup of young, athletic, very talented and inspired amateur players who are ably reinforced and strengthened by the likes of experienced and spirited players like Andray Blatche, Renaldo Balkman and McKenzie Moore,” said Tiu.

Thirdy Ravena, Dave Ildefonso and Juan Gomez de Liano are some of the top amateur standouts Mighty will field along with import Jelan Kendrick and PBA veteran Beau Belga of Rain or Shine.

Mighty is seeking to win the Dubai cagefest after finishing third in last year’s edition.

The team owned by Alex Wongchuking and backed by Go for Gold, Gatorade and Oriental Game is in Group B along with the UAE national team, Syria’s Al Itihad, Lebanon’s Beirut Sports Club and Tunisian side Rades.

Mighty opens its campaign Thursday against UAE followed by a match opposite Al Itihad before taking a two-day break.

“We’re all hoping we can bring more excitement to the Filipinos in the Emirates so we hope we can hurdle our first two games,” said team owner Alex Wongchuking.

Mighty returns to action Monday against Rades before battling Beirut Sports Club on Wednesday.

Source: Manila Bulletin