UAAP: Kai Ballungay exits Ateneo after two seasons
MANILA, Philippines—After having played just two seasons for Ateneo, Kai Ballungay announced that he’s hanging up the Blue and White to turn pro.
In an Instagram post on Monday afternoon, Ballungay, a cornerstone in the Blue Eagles’ Season 85 title run, announced that he’s leaving the UAAP to pursue a professional career.
“With strong feelings of excitement, I wish to share that I will be embarking on the next chapter of my journey—transitioning to the world of professional basketball,” wrote Ballungay.
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“The decision to pursue this path was not made lightly whatsoever, and I am glad to bring with me the invaluable experiences and lessons I have gained during my time at Ateneo. Though my time with the Blue Eagles has come to an end, my connection to the program, the university, and to my brothers remain unwavering. I wish nothing but the best to the team moving forward and I cannot wait to witness their continued success.”
Ballungay did not end his collegiate stint on a sour note.
Despite being bounced to elimination by the University of the Philippines in the Season 86 Final Four, the high-flying forward left Katipunan with a sense of gratitude and not of grief.
TRIBUTE TO BALDWIN
And no figure was Ballungay more thankful for than his veteran tactician, Tab Baldwin.
“Thank you Coach Tab for everything. There are not enough words I can express in this letter to fully describe how thankful I am for you and for the time you have given me during my stay at Ateneo. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a student of the game and for illustrating what true basketball is supposed to look and feel like.”
“With your guidance, I have discovered how much I didn’t know, how much! have learned along the way, and how much more I have to learn to be the best player I can be. I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to play for you, love you coach.”
With Baldwin’s mentorship, Ballungay posted norms of 11.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per outing in what turned out to be his final year with the Blue Eagles.
Ballungay didn’t shy away from gratitude, as he also thanked his brothers who marched to victory and the lows with him.
But most importantly, it’s his love for the Ateneo community that made his exit a bit harder than expected.
Still, the UAAP champion said he will look forward to the future with “gratitude for the past.”
“I want to thank everyone in the Ateneo community for being an integral part in my development as a player and as a man. I look forward to the future with gratitude for the past and excitement for what lies ahead.”