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MANILA, Philippines – Kai Ballungay will no longer return for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in 2024.
Ballungay announced on Monday, December 4, that he is pursuing a professional career as he bid Ateneo goodbye after donning the Blue Eagles’ colors for two UAAP seasons.
“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,” Ballungay wrote in a letter posted on his Instagram page.
“The decision to pursue this path was not made lightly whatsoever and I’m glad to bring with me the invaluable experiences and lessons I have gained during my time at Ateneo.”
In his rookie year, Ballungay played a key role for the Blue Eagles as they reclaimed their place atop the UAAP by capturing the Season 85 crown.
Ballungay led Ateneo in scoring for Season 86 with 11.4 points on top of 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists, although the Blue Eagles saw their back-to-back title aspirations crushed by the UP Fighting Maroons in the Final Four.
Despite their Final Four exit, the high-flying forward said he cherishes the time he shared the court with his teammates.
“Through victory and through defeat, the camaraderie we have forged through the countless hours of training have created lifelong memories that I will always cherish and hold on to for as long as I live,” Ballungay said.
“I am grateful to forever be part of the Blue Eagles Band of Brothers. I love you all so very much.”
Ballungay reserved his biggest appreciation for Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, saying he is “blessed” to have been mentored by the multi-titled tactician.
“Thank you for being my biggest critic and for pushing me to be the best version of myself as a player and as a young man in society,” he said.
“Thank you for showing me what it takes to be a champion and how to be a man for others.”
As Ballungay leaves the school, he also thanked the community and the Blue Eagles’ fans for their unwavering support.
“I look forward to the future, with gratitude for the past, and excitement for what lies ahead,” said Ballungay. – Rappler.com