MANILA (UPDATED) -- The University of the Philippines (UP) pulled off another recruiting coup by securing the commitment of top high school star Jared Bahay.
The Fighting Maroons announced the development on Thursday.
Bahay, who plays high school basketball for Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, was ranked No. 1 by NBTC in its 2023 class. He was the first non-UAAP and non-NCAA player to earn the distinction.
It's an early commitment for Bahay, who will finish his high school career with the Magis Eagles before suiting up for the Fighting Maroons beginning UAAP Season 87.
"I chose UP because of the good education they will provide and the lovely community they have. I believe they will help hone my skills to my fullest potential," he said in a statement.
The point guard is a mainstay of the Gilas Pilipinas Youth program, having seen action for the Philippines in the FIBA Under-16 and Under-18 Championships in 2022.
He averaged 11.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in those two age group tournaments.
In the recent NBTC National Finals, Bahay led Ateneo de Cebu to the semifinals where they lost to National University Nazareth School in a double overtime thriller, 91-90. Bahay had 23 points, five assists, and four rebounds in the loss.
"I made an early decision to commit because I already want to know the system that coach Gold [Monteverde] runs so it will be easier for me to transition when I come in. UP presented a clearer plan that will benefit my future and family," he said.
"Siyempre, we're excited to see how Jared can help the team, and, at the same time, how we can help him to continue to improve," said head coach Goldwin Monteverde.
Bahay, 17, joins a loaded UP recruiting class that already includes Luis Pablo, Seven Gagate, and Joshua Coronel, all of whom played high school basketball for La Salle Greenhills.
UP also recently secured the commitment of Filipino-American big man Sean Alter. They also have highly-touted Gilas Pilipinas pool player Francis Lopez in the fold.
The Fighting Maroons are coming off a runner-up finish in UAAP Season 85, losing to Ateneo de Manila University in three games in the finals to cede the men's basketball championship that they held for less than a year.
UP lost Zavier Lucero and Henry Galinato to graduation, and Carl Tamayo to the B.League, at the end of the Season 85 men's basketball tournament.
Bismarck Lina, a little-used forward, on Wednesday confirmed that he will be transferring from UP to San Beda University.
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.