Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Meet Fil-American sensation Kai Ballungay

Meet Fil-American sensation Kai Ballungay
by rick olivares

Filipino-American basketball sensation Jalen Green was the pre-game buzz owing to his aerial exploits in last year’s Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM. And no doubt, this high-flying, slam dunking basketball prodigy who lead the United States of America to the Fiba Under-17 World Championship in Argentina last year lives up to the hype.

But tugging on superman’s cape and also catching the eye of basketball coaches and observers was his FilAm Sports USA teammate Kainoa “Kai” Ballungay.

The tall and aerodynamic 6’7” Ballungay tallied 19 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block versus 3 turnovers in Team USA’s 78-45 romp over AusPinoy Australia in the classification matches of the 2019 Chooks to Go NBTC National Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena, Monday, March 18.

“I’m from Hawaii,” introduced Kai of himself. “My dad, Miles Ballungay, is a Filipino who hails from Hawaii but I am also half-white. My grandmother is from Ilocos Norte.”

Ballungay turned 17 last November and just graduated from for Kimball High School Jaguars (the school is located in Tracy, California) where he averaged 24.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game from the three-spot.

The Jaguars were knocked out by Vanden High School Vikings, 80-75, in the first round of the Sacramento-Joaquin Section Division III Championships last February 13. Ballungay scored 22 points for Kimball (also the same number his teammate, John Harris).

“Right now, I have committed to California State University Stanislaus for college,” said Ballungay of his young basketball career. The CSU Stanislaus Warriors are coming off a 12-14 season and it is hoped that Ballungay will give the team a lift.

Coming over to Manila for the first time, Kai was happy to be in touch with his roots. “It’s a great feeling coming over here,” said the young basketeer. “This (MOA Arena) is the biggest venue I’ve played in and I hear that by the second day of competition, this place gets packed and is really noisy. That would be great. I will see what I can do for Team USA and the fans.”

Playing alongside Jalen Green, Ballungay chuckled, “It would have been nice to have him too as a teammate in Kimball.”

“But he’s a great young talent and it’s just one game, but it has been fun to play alongside him.”

Regarding any chances of playing in the Philippines, Ballungay said, “I can’t tell what happens in the future. We’ll see.”

No comments:

Post a Comment