UAAP: Fil-Am forward Kai Ballungay transfers to Ateneo

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2021 01:51 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2021 03:08 PM

UAAP: Fil-Am forward Kai Ballungay transfers to Ateneo 1
Kai Ballungay during the NBTC tournament in 2019. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Ateneo de Manila University on Monday announced the recruitment of two Filipino-American standouts, forward Kainoa "Kai" Ballungay and guard Andrew Bongo.

Ballungay, 19, played for FilAm Sports in the 2019 edition of the NBTC Tournament, where he was teammates with Jalen Green. 

He played one season for California State University, Stanislaus before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out his sophomore season.

"Being able to play for Coach Tab (Baldwin) is a blessing. I can't wait to get to work," said the 6-foot-7 forward. 

Ballungay was a President's Scholar at Stan State and played in 24 games, making four starts. He averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game as a freshman.

In a statement posted on his Instagram account, Ballungay said he was "beyond blessed to begin this new chapter in my life."

"(I am) excited to be able to represent my Filipino heritage while continuing to pursue my dreams," he added.

Ballungay's enrollment is already being processed, according to Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo. He will sit out one season but will be eligible to play by Season 85.

"I think Kai is a very complete basketball player, complete in the sense that he has a broad range of skills," said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. "But he's also incomplete, he has a lot to learn still."

UAAP: Fil-Am forward Kai Ballungay transfers to Ateneo 2
Andrew Bongo

Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Bongo is a 6-foot-4 guard from Charter Oaks High School in California. 

"I think Ateneo is the best school that will help me grow in every aspect, not just basketball but school-wise as well," said Bongo, who will be eligible to play immediately as a high school graduate.

Bongo plays club basketball with Ateneo players Dwight and Eli Ramos, both of whom are also set for their debuts with the Blue Eagles.

It remains to be seen when Season 84 of the UAAP can push through, after the cancellation of Season 83 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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