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Work just getting started for Ateneo, says WUBS MVP Ballungay

After a year of wait, Kai Ballungay finally made his Ateneo Team A debut.

And it was definitely worth it.

During the Blue Eagles’ three games in the inaugural World University Basketball Series in Tokyo, Japan, the 6-foot-7 forward did it all, averaging 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.

And he won the tournament Most Valuable Player honors as well.

“It’s a great opportunity. Just want to take this momentum and prepare for the next one,” said the 20-year-old former Stanislau State cager.

“It’s a big moment for me. I always wanted… this is my first time in Japan. It’s a place that I wanted to come to. I’m just taking this experience and taking it day by day.”

During the past year, Ballungay shared that he worked on his shooting. And it showed during the tournament as he knocked down 1.3 treys per contest.

And with Ateneo gunners like SJ Belangel, Tyler Tio, and Gian Mamuyac already out of Katipunan, it will come in handy for the Blue Eagles.

2022-WUBS-Ateneo-def-UPH-Kai-Ballungay Work just getting started for Ateneo, says WUBS MVP Ballungay ADMU Basketball News  - philippine sports news

(C) Rakuten Sports

“This year, I focused on getting my shot better. Just becoming a more consistent shooter. I feel like I’ve always been able to slash and get to the rim,” he said.

“I just feel like focusing more on my shot this year was something that I just really wanted to focus on.”

The WUBS though is just the start of a long preseason journey for the Blue Eagles.

Of course, the goal is to develop the individual skillset of each Blue Eagle for the UAAP. More importantly though, they want to be a well-oiled machine like Ateneo teams of the past years.

#ReadMore  Juan GDL secures release from Tokyo Z

Ballungay is confident that they can achieve this, especially with having a decorated head coach like Tab Baldwin.

“The biggest challenge this year is we basically have a new team. A lot of new guys, including myself. Really coming together as a unit is something that’s really challenging this year. It’s something that we have to overcome,” he said.

“The main reason why I chose Ateneo as the school is I wanted to play for him [Tab Baldwin]. Just learning from him and taking all the lessons that he’s teaching me is something that I want to apply, not only in college but hopefully when I play professionally.”

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