UAAP Basketball

‘Like family’: Why Jared Bahay chose the UP Maroons as his new home

Naveen Ganglani

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‘Like family’: Why Jared Bahay chose the UP Maroons as his new home

NEW HOME. Jared Bahay says he feels welcome in UP.


Cebuano juniors standout Jared Bahay, the UP Maroons’ latest recruit, says he looks up to former UAAP stars Kiefer Ravena and RJ Abarrientos

MANILA, Philippines – Jared Bahay said it’s his childhood dream to play in the UAAP as the Cebuano standout – arguably the Philippines’ top high school basketball prospect – committed to join the UP Fighting Maroons

The 17-year-old point guard on Monday, March 27, informed officials from his high school, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, of his intentions to enroll at the University of the Philippines in Diliman after he graduates from Grade 12 in 2024, which is when he’ll debut as a Fighting Maroon in UAAP Season 87.

Bahay had several suitors, including defending champion Ateneo, La Salle, and University of Santo Tomas, but opted for UP because, in his words, he “chose a family.”

Childhood dream ko talaga makalaro sa UAAP. Nandito na ako. Thankful ako,” Bahay said in an exclusive interview. 

Nakita ko yung community, paano sila magkaisa… pinili [ko] yung UPMBT dahil hindi lang sila team, kung di family.

(It’s my childhood dream to play in the UAAP. I’m now here. I’m thankful. I saw the community, how they unite… I chose UPMT because they’re not just a team, they’re like family.)

Bahay was also drawn by the Bisaya connections he will have in the roster, which includes another recent high school commit in La Salle Green Hills big man Seven Gagate. He also quickly developed a close friendship with incoming junior sharpshooter Harold Alarcon.

The MVP of the recent Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) high school tournament, Bahay shared he feels welcomed by the UP coaching staff and management, and looks forward to both playing for a boisterous fanbase while earning an education in Diliman.

Pag may laro, grabe yung crowd, parang buong gym linalaruan. Punong-puno, puro UP,” Bahay shared his observations from watching the Fighting Maroons last season.

(When there’s a game, the crowd is unbelievable, it’s like they fill up the whole gym.)

“I’m planning to [take up Civil] Engineering,” shared the student-athlete, who received high marks in his Math classes. “Pero tingnan na lang natin (Let’s see).”

Last Saturday night, Bahay’s commitment to UP was celebrated at the Executive House in campus with members of the program’s patron Nowhere to Go But UP, former UP president Danilo Concepcion, new UP president Jijil Jimenez, and former College of Science dean Joel Balmaceda, among others.

Discussions ranged from how Bahay uses lessons from geometry to determine passing angles on a basketball court, the Visayan players and management, the lifestyle in Diliman, and Mang Larry’s isaw, according to sources present in the festivities. 

Bahay’s entry in Season 87 might be timely as the starting point guard spot of the Fighting Maroons could be available following the graduation of veteran playmaker JD Cagulangan. 

He joins a guard rotation that includes the likes of Alarcon, Gerry Abadiano, Cyril Gonzales, Terrence Fortea, Ernest Felicilda, and Reyland Torres, among others.

Pag papasok na ako, paalis na din si kuya Maimai (Cagulangan), so ‘sakto,” Bahay said. “Marami din ako matutunan kina kuya Maimai kasi kapwa Bisaya ko lang sila.

(When I come in, Cagulangan will be leaving, so it’s perfect timing. I learned a lot from them, they’re also Visayans.)

Bahay is part of a future core of Fighting Maroons that will also be bannered by Gagate, Francis “LeBron” Lopez, NCAA high school MVP Luis Pablo, recovering youth standout Josh Coronel, Filipino-American big man Sean Alter, and recent addition LA Andres.

Outside of Alter and Lopez, the other new recruits were Bahay’s teammate in the national youth squad.

Siyempre, hindi na ito yung Gilas. Another level ito, sa UAAP na,” he said, noting the importance of the group’s development.

(This is no longer the Gilas youth team. The UAAP is another level.)

Given the recent rush of recruitment by powerhouse collegiate programs – the UP Maroons being one of them – there have been multiple discussions on social media of whether or not financial benefits factor in determining which universities potential recruits commit to. 

When asked about this, Bahay responded: “Iba talaga yung reasons [ko].”

He further explained: “Kasi yung sabi ko nga, yung community at education ng UP, pati parang family na din sila [ang reasons]. ‘Di naman yun sa pera-pera yung sinasabi ng mga tao, kung di yung tatlo.

(My reasons are different. For me it’s the community and education in UP, and it’s like they’re family. It’s not about money like some say, but it’s those three reasons.)

Bahay was ranked No. 1 overall in March among high school standouts in the NBTC under-19 player rankings, becoming the first non-Metro Manila baller to do so.

After leading Sacred Heart School to a CESAFI title, Bahay led them to the semis of the NBTC tournament. His game log included a 31-point, 8 three-pointer showcase against Mapua, and a 23-point, 5-assist, 4-rebound performance against eventual champion Nazareth-NU. 

Bahay has the playing style of a modern basketball guard; someone who can pull-up from long range, work the pick-and-roll effectively, push in transition, get to the rim, and use change-of-pace moves to his advantage. His game is reminiscent of former UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena when he played for Ateneo. 

Ravena, along with former FEU standout RJ Abarrientos, were the two role models Bahay emulated as he developed as a basketball player through elementary and high school. He says he didn’t work with any skills trainer and honed his game through self-practice and with Sacred Heart. 

There are areas Bahay will have to work on to get used to the college game, such as the strength and speed of the opposition and bigger defenders hounding him in press situations, looking to force turnovers. 

Bahay’s immediate goal will be to lead Sacred Heart to another CESAFI title and then return to Manila next year and win the NBTC title which eluded them recently.

“You gotta move on,” he said about their defeat. 

Bahay will then join his new UP family as they embark on a quest, which he wasn’t shy to state loud and clear

“Siyempre ‘di lang ako nag UP para mag-aral at maglaro. Pumunta ako ng UP para mag-aral at mag-champion,” the confident high school star said.

I hope pag dating ko sa UP, mabibigyan ko po kayo ng apat na championship.”

(Of course, I chose UP not only to study and play. I’m going to UP to study and be a champion. I hope when I play in UP, I’d be able to give them four championships.) –

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