Ballungay beats PBA Rookie Draft application deadline

Kai Ballungay is turning pro here in the Philippines. (UAAP)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Former Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles star Kai Ballungay will test the waters of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after submitting his documents for the Rookie Draft.

A UAAP champion under Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, Ballungay will join a draft class full of talent, hoping to hear his name called on July 14, 2024.

Ballungay, a versatile power forward, helped Ateneo reach several Final Four appearances during the past three UAAP seasons. Known for his athleticism and great second-jump vertical, he will be a valuable addition to franchises with a weakened front-court pool.

The most impressive part of his game was his rapid development during his tenure with the Blue Eagles. After starting his rookie collegiate year with a one-dimensional skill set, Ballungay quickly evolved into a scoring threat in his last two stints with Ateneo.

Initially a poor three-point shooter, Ballungay improved his outside shot, hitting open shots from downtown last season. In addition to his shooting, he enhanced his post-game, developing a lethal jump hook from the right block.

Most importantly, Ballungay takes pride in his defense, an attribute coach Baldwin praised during their championship run, defeating the UP Fighting Maroons two years ago.

Ballungay will join a stacked 2024 Draft Class led by CJ Cansino, Justine Baltazar, Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy, Jerom Lastimosa, Dave Ildefonso, and RJ Abarrientos.

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