By Nikole Javier
Kai Ballungay is expected to get significant minutes once he makes his debut for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 85 which will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Ballungay is no stranger to Philippine basketball after showing promising numbers in the 2019 NBTC, averaging 19.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.
But the 19-year-old transferee saw limited minutes at Stanislaus State in California and only had 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 24 games.
Now that he is ready to suit up for Ateneo after sitting out for one year,
Baldwin has high hopes that the 6-foot-6 Ballungay can bring his offensive talent in the collegiate league.
“Kai is a real talent, no question about that. You know, he’s a big 6’6, pushing 6’7. He’s a high flyer, he’s a great athlete, and he can play above the rim. He can shoot the ball from the three-point line. So, he brings a lot of offensive talents, a lot of athleticism, he’s good around the basket, and he’s a good rebounder. He’s got a good nose for the ball, gets up and down the ball really fast,” revealed Baldwin in Nikko Ramos' Call To Arms podcast.
He will be joining reigning MVP Ange Kouame, BJ Andrade, Dave Ildefonso, and co-rookie Paul Garcia in the rebuilding Ateneo lineup.
The Blue Eagles need to buckle down to work to reclaim the throne after losing to the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the championship series last season.
SJ Belangel, Gian Mamuyac and Tyler Tio had jumped to the pro ranks, while Kouame's fitness is still questionable with a little time to prepare before action begins.