One of the brightest young prospects developed by the Filipino Chinese Basketball League is headed to Ateneo.
Jubilee Christian Academy’s 6-foot-7 stretch big man Kyle Ong has enrolled at Ateneo de Manila University.
And no one felt more proud than his high school head coach Cris Bautista.
“I’m very, very proud of Kyle,” said Bautista.
Despite his height, Ong is a late bloomer in the game.
According to Bautista, Ong only started to play basketball when he was 15 years old. Back then, Ong was already 6-foot-2.
“When I first discovered him, it was just in our canteen. So I talked to him if he wanted to play basketball. He really didn’t know how to play basketball, so I talked to his dad. His dad is a basketball player and he wanted his son to be like him,” recalled Bautista.
During his second year in high school, Bautista did not line Ong up in the MMBL, FCBL, and PCYAA tournaments. Instead, Bautista, who is also working with the Ateneo Lady Eagles, brought him to Ateneo to train with the Blue Eaglets.
“Unang-una, tinuruan muna tumakbo. Siyempre, I invited some of my players from Jubilee also,” he continued.
In his third year, the world got a glimpse of what Ong can bring to the table. Then a year later, he was already averaging double-figures in points and rebounds while posting almost six blocks a game in the FCBL and the PCYAA.
“Proud na proud ako kasi kasi talagang galing siya sa akin,” shared Bautista.
Ong, who is 18 years old, will not immediately line up for Ateneo, since he has to train with Team Glory Be first — just like the likes of Inand Fornillos and Troy Mallillin.
And Ateneo’s promise to put in the time to develop Ong secured his commitment to the team.
“Sabi ko kay Coach Tab, ‘Kyle is still a project.’ But Kyle said that he is willing to put in the work,” Bautista said.
“One-hundred percent they assured na they are willing to give time to develop him. Kahit naman sa karamihan ng recruits nila ngayon, they developed it muna.”
Other products of Jubilee are Saint Benilde’s Carlo Lim and JRU’s Winderlich Coyoca.
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