Navigating complexity: Jared Bahay’s transition to Ateneo

Jared Bahay admits that learning Coach Tab Baldwin’s system as an Ateneo Blue Eagle is a little more complicated than what he was accustomed to running as the leading man for Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-ADC) in CESAFI.

Despite that, the high school phenom is confident he’ll fit in just in time for his UAAP debut in Season 87 at the end of 2024.

“Coach Tab’s system honestly is more complicated than our system back in high school, but I’m very confident because the coaches back in high school in Ateneo-Cebu molded me to become a smart player,” Bahay said in an exclusive interview with All-Star Magazine.

Bahay was ranked number one in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) high school rankings for a second straight year after leading SHS-ADC to a third straight championship last December when he was named Finals MVP following a 14-point effort in the series-clinching third game against the UV Baby Lancers. The Magis Eagles rallied from a 0-1 series hole.

He is currently in Manila participating in the NBTC tournament. Bahay had time recently to train with his future teammates and new head coach, whose goal is to get the best out of his development as a basketball player.

Bahay will no longer be under the daily tutelage of SHS-ADC head coach Rommel Rasmo, but will utilize the learnings he soaked in from the Magis Eagles’ coach and his staff as he adjusts to a new playing style and higher competition level.

“It wasn’t just all skills, talent, and hard work,” he said of his growth as a baller in Cebu. “They molded me to become an intelligent player to play in Coach Tab’s complicated system.”

Bahay doesn’t use the term “complicated” to state that the Blue Eagles have a confusing gameplan, but rather to emphasize the complexities of it. Of course, it will help to have the guidance of his former high school teammates Michael Asoro and Raffy Celis by his side once again, especially since each standout has already been in the Blue Eagles’ program for close to a year.

The multi-dimensional player, who can create opportunities for teammates just as efficiently as he can score, said he’s “very excited” to be reunited with the aforementioned duo, as well as the teammates he bonded with in his FIBA-Asia Under-18 stint back in 2022: Kyle Gamber, Kristian Porter, and Mason Amos.

“I’m very excited to have Mason as my roommate because we’re very close to each other,” Bahay said while chuckling. Apparently, the Ateneo duo of the future already has a dynamic: Amos will take care of the culinary responsibilities, while Bahay will take charge of cleanliness.

“We’ve known each other since our Batang Gilas days. I think we’ll be having fun,” the Cebuano commented.

Bahay also hopes to build relationships with other teammates he doesn’t know quite as well yet. He’s aware of the many adjustments he’ll have to make living away from family for the first time in Manila, which he has visited on multiple occasions in the past but will live in for the first time.

“Back home in Cebu, you already know your teammates,” Bahay stated. “In Ateneo de Manila, we’re all from different countries and cities here in the Philippines, so I think building relationships is the biggest adjustment I’ll be encountering.”

Bahay is an achiever both on the basketball court and in the classroom, as he’s one of the students in the running for academic awards.

The earliest opportunity to see Bahay in a Blue Eagles uniform will possibly be when the Pinoyliga and Filoil offseason tournaments begin over the next few months.

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