The Ateneo Blue Eagles added size for their campaign in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines with their latest Filipino-American recruits Kai Ballungay and Andrew Bongo.
In a virtual press conference on Monday, team manager Christopher Quimpo and coach Tab Baldwin introduced the new players who are to suit up in the upcoming seasons of the UAAP.
The 6-foot-7 Ballungay will sit out for a year since he will be transferring from California State University, Stanislaus, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school in the United States. He will be able to play come UAAP Season 85.
Ballungay saw action in the 2019 National Basketball Training Center Finals as part of FilAm Sports which also featured National Basketball Association 2021 Draft prospect Jalen Green.
During the tournament, Ballungay averaged 19.3 points and 9.8 rebounds, per game, catching the eye of a number of universities in the country.
After completing high school in California, he suited for the CSU Stanislaus Warriors for one year but played limited minutes.
In his second year, the pandemic forced him to sit it out before finally deciding to take his game to Ateneo.
In the press conference, Ballungay said he is willing to wait for his turn to play for Ateneo and will use the time during his residency to continue working on his game and getting familiarized with the team’s system.
Bongo, 6’4″, for his part, gets to play immediately once UAAP action resumes in Season 84 next year.
The 18-year-old played for Charter Oak High School in California where he averaged all-around numbers of 22 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.2 blocks.
He said he is very excited to play for the reigning three-time UAAP champions Eagles and develop his game.
Currently, Bongo said, they are in process of finalizing the needed documents for him to be able to play for Ateneo.
“We’re really excited to have them join our program. They’ve proven themselves in the US at the high school level, with Kai having a year of university under his belt,” said Mr. Baldwin of their latest recruits.
“Obviously with them we’re bringing more size into the program,” he added.
The UAAP scrapped its entire Season 83 because of the pandemic and is looking to resume next year. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo