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Magic keep Kai on bench

KAI Sotto rides the bench during 85-108 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Summer League. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GPUNX

Kai Sotto’s quest for precious minutes continues as the Orlando Magic didn’t field him during their 85-108 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association Summer League Tuesday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The 21-year-old Sotto was slapped with a DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision) for the second straight time following their 78-89 loss to the Detroit Pistons last Sunday.

With Sotto reduced into a benchwarmer, second-round pick Andrew Nembhard dropped 21 points while Isaiah Jackson had another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers.

Jarace Walker and Ben Shepperd scored 16 points each for Indiana, which pulled away in the second quarter to rip the game wide open.

Despite the wide margin, Orlando coach Daryl Murphy still refused to call Sotto’s number, sparking an outrage among fans who wanted to see the 7-foot-3 Filipino display his talent in the annual off-season showcase.

Murphy, for his part, kept a short rotation as he fielded only 11 of the 21 players in the Magic roster, most of them draft picks and those who are under contract.

Still, Sotto remains positive, saying that he will be ready once the Magic finally decide to deploy him.

“I’ll be ready whenever they call my name,” Sotto said in a video interview with NBA Philippines.

“I’m just trying to learn from everybody, from all the things that’s happening to us. Everywhere I go, I represent the Philippines.”

Sotto will have two more chances to prove himself as the Magic will face the New York Knicks on 13 July at 8 a.m. and against the Portland Trail Blazers on 14 July at 9 a.m.

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