SJ Belangel has decided to turn a new chapter in his young career.
The 22-year-old floor general will no longer be playing out his last two years of eligibility at Ateneo de Manila University. Instead, he has decided to go pro.
The native of Bacolod will play in the Korean Basketball League.
Blue Eagles team manager Epok Quimpo confirmed the development to Tiebreaker Times.
“It is with great regret that the Ateneo de Manila University men’s basketball team announces that SJ Belangel accepted an offer to play in the Korean Basketball League and will therefore forgo his last two playing years for the Blue Eagles,” said Quimpo.
The team Belangel will play in was not disclosed.
Belangel, a product of Ateneo High School, committed to the university back in UAAP Season 81.
In the next three seasons, the 5-foot-11 guard dazzled. He earned the reputation of being the most clutch player on the team despite having seniors ahead of him.
In 48 games played, Belangel normed 7.38 points and 2.08 assists per contest. In what ended up as his final year, he averaged 11.22 points per contest.
“For the past eight years, SJ Belangel has been an integral part of the Ateneo Basketball program. He started as a young recruit from Bacolod City and then blossomed into a bonafide High School standout,” continued Quimpo, as Belangel transferred from Bacolod Tay Tung to Ateneo High to finish his secondary studies.
“His college career followed a similar course, with back-to-back championships as well as individual awards.”
Besides being a standout Blue Eagle, Belangel has also served the country numerous times, playing in both Gilas Youth and Men. In fact, he is also part of the pool that will play against Korea in two friendlies later this month and in the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Moreover, his buzzer-beater against Korea made him a star in their country.
Belangel earned a degree in AB Interdisciplinary Studies early this month.
In his next journey, Quimpo wished Belangel nothing but the best.
“Student-athletes like SJ are hard to find and even harder to let go of. We thank SJ for donning the blue and white as we bid him well in his next journey. Once a Blue Eagle, always a Blue Eagle. One Big Fight!”
After the UAAP Finals, Raffy Verano, Gian Mamuyac, Jolo Mendoza, and Tyler Tio also decided to go pro.
Troy Mallillin would also leave the school later on.