Next Chapter: Fil-Am Stud Jacob Bayla Joins The UP Fighting Maroons

It’s official: Jacob Bayla will begin his collegiate career in the Philippines as he joins the UP Fighting Maroons starting UAAP Season 87 in September.

The UP Fighting Maroons only continue to get deeper as they now secure the commitment of Fil-Am Nation Select and Gilas Youth stalwart Jacob Bayla.

Bayla, a combo guard from Valley Christian High School, will be suiting up for State U starting UAAP Season 87 this September as confirmed by the team on Sunday. He will join other new faces in fellow Fil-Ams Gani Stevens and Denzil Walker, a debuting Josh Coronel, and potential Malick Diouf heir Dikachi Udodo.

“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,” said Bayla in a statement on Sunday. “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.”

Besides basketball, Bayla, an upcoming sports science major, cited UP as a “great academic school”, adding “I always took pride and academics and I know they [UP] have the tools to guide me to be successful on and off the court.”

Jacob Bayla was last home in March 2024 for the NBTC National Finals, averaging 11.8 points per game on 66.7 percent shooting in Fil-Am Nation Select’s championship run that earned him Division 1 Mythical Five and All-Star team selections.

In 2022, he was part of the Gilas Youth team that reached the quarterfinals at the FIBA Under-16 Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar. Here, Bayla averaged 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in eight games played.

Now, he will be in a UP team looking to win another UAAP title after repeated heartbreaks. Despite making their third-straight Finals appearance last Season 86, State U was shot down by a resurgent La Salle squad led by Evan Nelle and Kevin Quiambao.

“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 every day 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.

Whether Jacob Bayla and UP’s other recruits can prevent another State U heartbreak will be seen in four months’ time.

Banner Image courtesy of the UP Office of Athletics and Sports Development. 

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