The Ateneo Blue Eagles have started to make a move while the UAAP is still out of the picture, bolstering their roster with two Filipino-American recruits in forward Kainoa “Kai” Ballungay and guard Andrew Bongo.
Ateneo announced the acquisition of Ballungay and Bongo on Monday, July 26, via Zoom press conference with sportswriters.
“We’re excited whenever we recruit high-level talent,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “There’s a lot that goes in recruitment with a young man like Kai. We had a lot of opportunities and building a relationship and obviously exposing him in, what we believe [Ateneo] is a great university, a great program, is our job.
“The fact that ultimately we’re successful and Kai makes the decision to join us, I think a lot goes down with the work the players have done in building our program and making it attractive to a talent like Kai.”
The same goes for Bongo, who was also under the Ateneo’s radar the past few months with their “extensive” scouting process in the United States.
Ballungay, 19, suited up for FilAm Sports in the 2019 NBTC Tournament where he was teammates with NBA G-League and Team Ignite star Jalen Green.
He also played one season for California State University, Stanislaus, averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 6.8 minutes of play during his rookie year with the Warriors.
Bongo, 18, for his part, recently graduated from Charter Oak High School in Covina, California where he posted norms of 22.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.2 blocks in 10 games.
Ballungay, who stands at 6-foot-7, will be eligible to play in the UAAP starting Season 85 to go with three more playing years while Bongo, a 6-foot-4 guard, can maximize the five years should the league kicks off its 84th season next year.
Atty. Rebo Saguisag, UAAP executive director, earlier said Season 84 may possibly push through next year with specific sports considered.
The entirety of UAAP Season 83 was scrapped due to the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.