Ateneo de Manila University will be one of the teams to participate in the inaugural World University Basketball Series presented by Sun Chlorella.
The Blue Eagles will leave for Tokyo, Japan on Sunday as the four-team pocket tournament will be from August 9 to 11.
Picking Ateneo to be part of the four competing squads was a no-brainer for the WUBS management, citing the Blue Eagles alumni playing in Japan B.League led by the Ravena brothers Kiefer and Thirdy.
“Obviously, many players from Ateneo are playing in the B. League. We know like Kiefer Ravena, they have many great players of Ateneo alumni showing their skills,” said Nao Okamoto, the league’s secretary-general during the presser at the Dragon’s Nest in Quezon City.
Also competing in the maiden tournament are Japan’s Tokai University, Chinese-Taipei’s National Chengchi University, and Indonesia’s Universitas Pelita Harapan.
The format of the three-day tilt will be a single round-robin with the team on top winning the championship.
“I’m really excited to play another country, something Ateneo’s known for, travel and play another team,” said Chris Koon in the event also attended by Ange Kouame, Dave Ildefonso, Geo Chiu, and captain BJ Andrade – the five expected to lead Ateneo in its first out-of-the-country preseason tournament during the pandemic.
“Very happy to be able to represent the school and the country. Hopefully, we show out and we’re really excited to get more games under our belt,” added Ildefonso.
Ateneo will first face UPH on the 9th before going against NCCU on the 10th, and Tokai on the 11th.
The Blue Eagles will debut Kai Balunggay, Andrew Bongo, Inand Fornillos, Joseph Ubasa, Sean Quetevis, JC Fetalverso, Jacob Lao, and Paul Garcia.
Completing the squad are holdovers Matthew Daves, Kyle Ong, Gab Gomez, Joshua Lazaro, and Forthsky Padrigao.
“It’s gonna be a big challenge for us because we look like a new team so it’s kind of a time for us to know each other before the UAAP season,” said Kouame.
“Importante para sa akin ay yung team namin. Gusto naming iapply namin yung natutunan namin sa training sa league sa Japan,” added Andrade.