MANILA, Philippines: Come UAAP Season 87 next year, the Ateneo Blue Eagles will be without one of their key players in the past two UAAP men's basketball seasons.

Kai Ballungay, a pivotal piece in Ateneo's Season 85 conquest last year, is leaving the Blue Eagles' nest to pursue professional basketball albeit he did not identify where or which league he will play at.

Ballungay himself made the announcement in a lengthy letter posted on his Instagram account on Monday, December 4.

"With strong feelings of excitement, I wish to share that I will be embarking on the next chapter of my journey - transitioning to the world of professional basketball. The decision to pursue this path was not made lightly whatsoever, and I am glad to bring with me the invaluable experiences and lessons I have gained during my time at Ateneo," wrote Ballungay.

"Though my time with the Blue Eagles has come to an end, my connection to the program, the university, and to my brothers remain unwavering. I wish nothing but the best to the team moving forward and I cannot wait to witness their continued success."

A transferee from Cal State Stanislaus, the 6-foot-7 Ballungay started playing for Ateneo in Season 85 and went on to help the Blue Eagles reach the Final Four in Season 86 this year with averages of 11.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.67 blocks per contest.

The 22-year-old Filipino-American expressed his gratitude to the Ateneo community for helping him develop as a player and a human being.

"In closing, I want to thank everyone in the Ateneo community for being an integral part in my development as a player and as a man. I look forward to the future, with gratitude for the past, and excitement for what lies ahead."

2023-12-04T13:19:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd