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Gilas Youth member Jacob Bayla chooses UP ahead of UAAP Season 87

UP MBT commit Jacob Bayla and UP OASD director Bo Perasol.
By Dugout Philippines

MANILA--The University of the Philippines men's basketball team is taking former Gilas Pilipinas Youth standout Jacob Bayla to the big dance of the UAAP.

Bayla, the 6-foot-5 wing who had starred for Valley Christian High School in California, confirmed his commitment to the Fighting Maroons during the FilAm Nation Select All-Star Classic. He will be immediately eligible in this year’s Season 87.

"UP has a great basketball program. They compete, they play hard, they play at a high level. I particularly love the coaching staff, as they've been coming to the US every year since I was 15 to come watch me play," he said.

"Ultimately, I believe UP will support and guide me throughout my basketball journey, help me improve my game, and hold me accountable. They're the school that really believed in me since day one."

The now-18-year-old averaged 11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in the Filipino-Americans' unbeaten run for a breakthrough championship in the 2024 NBTC National Finals.

Bayla also contributed 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists for the national youth team in the 2022 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship where he joined forces with Jared Bahay, Andy Gemao, and Caelum Harris as Gilas Youth wound up seventh.

"Aside from basketball, UP is a great academic school. I always took pride and academics and I know they have the tools to guide me to be successful on and off the court," he said, while also adding he'll be taking sports science in Diliman.

Now, a fully loaded lineup led by JD Cagulangan, Francis Lopez, and Harold Alarcon awaits him alongside fellow newcomers Gani Stevens and Dikachi Udodo.

"We've all seen naman what Jacob can do and how he has kept improving. Hopefully, magtutuloy-tuloy lang yan now he's with us as we, as a team, also continue to be better everyday sa every practice, every game," said head coach Goldwin Monteverde.

"Matagal na nating nakita yung potential ni Jacob. We are so glad na pinili at pinagkatiwalaan niya at ng family niya ang UP as the next step in his young career. With coach Gold's guidance, we believe Jacob will reach his full potential," added UP Office for Athletics and Sports Development Dir. Bo Perasol.

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