Kai Sotto was not supposed to be the only Filipino player included in the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp to be held during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend next week in Chicago.
A former teammate of Sotto was supposed to join him as Ateneo Blue Eaglet Forth Padrigao also got an invite last month for the six edition of the BWB Global Camp hosted by the NBA. Overall, there have been more than 60 editions of the camp all over the world, which has also been supported by FIBA, and 62 alumni have been drafted into the NBA.
Back in 2019, a record eight alumni of the BWB Global Camp were selected in the NBA Draft and the year also saw the camp's first ever WNBA selection.
Padrigao was able to join a BWB Camp in Delhi, India where he was named the Asia Camp MVP but unfortunately, he will not be able to take his talents to the big stage of the NBA All-Star Weekend as the Blue Eaglets are currently in the thick of competitions in the UAAP Juniors Basketball tournament where they qualified into the stepladder Final Four.
"For me, sayang yung opportunity kasi bihira lang for the guys at my age to have this kind of opportunity," Padrigao said. "But sometimes in life we need to make sacrifices kaya right now I need to priotize muna yung Ateneo and sacrifice my stint in the BWB kasi we are in the Final Four."
Ateneo is set to battle Adamson to start the Final Four competitions with the winner advancing to take on the second-seeded FEU. Defending champion National University has already qualified for the Finals as they swept the competitions.
Padrigao finished 10th in the statistical race with norms of 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.6 steals per game. He leads the Blue Eaglets in points and leads the entire league in assists and steals.
Aside from the experience he could have gained from seasoned mentors in the NBA, Padrigao regrets missing out on another chance to play alongside Sotto.
"Siguro in some other time magkakasama pa kami ni Kai, I mean, you'll never know," he said. "Bata pa kami. We still have a lot of opportunities in life and maybe God has better plans for me and Kai for now."