June 25, 2024

Jacob Bayla shows promising signs while still adjusting with UP Fighting Maroons

Jacob Bayla shows promising signs while still adjusting with UP Fighting Maroons
Jacob Bayla contributed eight points in UP Fighting Maroons' semifinal win over FEU Tamaraws in the FilOil Preseason Cup. | Photo (c) FilOil EcoOil Sports

Jacob Bayla is arguably one of the most highly sought-after high school players for the upcoming UAAP season.

Bayla attracted attention from several esteemed American universities, such as UCLA, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara. However, the 6-foot-6 guard ultimately decided to join the University of the Philippines.

With all eyes on him, Bayla quickly became known among the UP faithful at the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup. He capped off a stellar win with a highlight dunk that eliminated their Katipunan rival, Ateneo de Manila University, from the tournament.

In his UP debut, Bayla scored five points and grabbed two rebounds. Since then, he has averaged four points, two rebounds, and 1.3 assists in over 15 minutes of play.

As the Fighting Maroons prepare for their upcoming Finals match against De La Salle University, the adjustment continues for Bayla, who’s had just a week of practice with his UP teammates.

[ALSO READ: Francis Lopez, UP fend off FEU to advance to FilOil Preseason Cup Finals]

Despite this, UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon said they like what they’ve seen from the Gilas Youth standout.

“Well, [Jacob Bayla] has been responsive. For any coach na may papasok na rookie, tinitignan mo how would they respond when giving instructions, when you draw up a play, or when you tell him, let’s say, after a turnover or a missed assignment, how they would respond to that. And so far, he’s been responding well,” said Luanzon.

“Chemistry-wise, I think it’s too early to tell. He’s been here for one week. But to his benefit, it goes to show ‘yung IQ niya sa game. Tatlong practice pa lang siya with the team. Mas marami pa ‘yung laro, tatlong laro. For him to blend in right away, I think it’s very impressive so far,” he added.

But for Luanzon, it’s more than just Bayla adjusting to the UAAP brand of basketball; it’s also about him adjusting to coach Goldwin Monteverde’s system.

UP, after all, will field several new players come UAAP Season 87, which includes Bayla and their new foreign student-athlete in Diakachi Udodo.

“For example, si Dikachi and si Jacob na kakapasok lang ngayong season, [it’s important] how not only they can blend in but also [how they can adapt] to the kind of culture that we want and ‘yung standard na gusto, not only ni coach Gold but the standard that they put on themselves and sa team nila,” said Luanzon.

“This is their team. Hindi ‘to team ni Coach Gold, hindi ‘to team ng [UP] community. This is also our team. So ‘yung standard that we uphold sa practice and sa games, importanteng-importante na fully mag-translate sa court,” he added.

Bayla and the rest of the Fighting Maroons will look to end their FilOil Preseason Cup campaign with another 1st place finish as they face the Green Archers on Wednesday, June 12, at the FilOil EcoOil Center in San Juan City.