Rising Star Kai Sotto Benched as Orlando Magic Faces Defeat Against Detroit
In an unexpected turn of events, Filipino basketball sensation Kai Sotto stayed on the bench throughout the whole game between the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons in the 2023 NBA Summer League.
Sotto’s team, the Magic, was at an 89-78 loss to Pistons. While the NBA team has been buzzing about South’s debut on social media platforms all week, it’s surprising that they decided to keep him benched.
This move left analysts and fans speculating about the coaching staff’s tactics. Despite Kai Sotto’s towering height of 7-foot-3, the Magic’s coaching staff sidelined him all throughout the entire game.
This decision surprised fans and spectators as the new player’s height and potential advantage to the team’s game were also anticipated by fans and critics alike.
Kai Sotto pic.twitter.com/CAuBAh9s5l
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) July 3, 2023
In place of Sotto, the Magic placed small players in the game. This includes former Gilas Pilipinas naturalization prodigy DJ Wilson and Ron Baker II.
Wilson finished the game with four points and three rebounds, while Baker contributed with eight points and two rebounds. However, the absence of Sotto’s towering advantage in the picture was palpable.
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Jalen Duren led the match with his scoring skills and took the lead with 17 points and eight rebounds. One-time NBA champion James Wiseman is not one to be surpassed with his remarkable double-double performance.
Wiseman contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds. These players’ stellar showcases prompted the Pistons’ victory over the Magic. Furthermore, on Magic’s side, Kevon Harris was the leading scorer with an impressive 21 points.
Meanwhile, one Filipino-American also aims to make his name in the NBA league. The son of former Chicago Bulls legend Ron Harper Sr. plays as a forward in the Toronto Raptors.
kai sotto photo pic.twitter.com/PjcfDiUZ6s
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) July 5, 2023
Ron Harper Jr. scored 10 points with six rebounds and four assists. But this wasn’t enough to lead Toronto Raptors to their win, as they ended with an 83-74 defeat vs. Chicago Bulls.
Despite the defeat, this Fil-Am player immediately left a mark with five initial points in the first quarter. Then, he scored another two in the second quarter and three points in the last quarter.
In addition, he will return for his sophomore season with the Raptors after they extended a two-qualifying deal with Harper.
Meanwhile, another Fil-Am player in the league, Kamaka Hepa, failed to showcase his skills when the New Orleans Pelicans coaching staff didn’t insert him in the game against Minnesota Timberwolves, where they lost 102-88.
Furthermore, Sotto’s next opportunity to play will be on Monday against the Indiana Pacers, as Panay News reported. Both Filipinos and the Filipino-American community are eagerly hoping to see him play in the next game.
His absence on the court sparked questions and captured the attention of the coaching staff’s decision. As fans await his next chance to play, the basketball community stays hopeful for his debut.
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