Written by: Justin
Edited by: Lucas
Visual by: Sarah Pr.
Being recruited by NCAA Division-1 schools for athletics is unheard of at ISM and more generally in the Philippines. By committing to Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio to play baseball on an athletics scholarship, ISM’s Jakob became one of the elite few to do it. Currently in his junior year, Jakob plays shortstop for the varsity baseball team.
When asked about how he became interested in baseball, Jakob recounted, “I started playing when I was 6. I wasn’t really interested in playing but my dad insisted so he signed me up to play in the International Little League Association of Manila (ILLAM) which was a pretty good league for young players. After playing in ILLAM for a while and getting a feel for the game, my passion just grew from there. By the time I was around 9 or 10 I would train nearly every day with my dad and coach.”
Top-notch athletes are expected to consistently perform at a high level, which requires hard work and dedication. They need to spend countless hours in the gym trying to improve their craft. But in order to do so, they need to find their “why” and stay motivated. Jakob touched on this, saying, “playing to impress is what motivates me. Competing to make a good play or get a good hit to hype up your team is what makes the game fun and it drives me to improve as a player.”
During the recruitment process, Jakob sent out videos and highlight reels to college coaches and scouts to get their attention. He succeeded in garnering enough interest such that several universities flew him out to cities like Indianapolis and Knoxville for try-outs. There were other schools that expressed interest in Jakob and invited him to their respective campuses. However, due to the pandemic and restrictions on travel, he was unable to meet with them. In the end, Jakob picked Xavier University over other schools because he believed their program was the best fit for him and they were also the first school to give an offer.
Playing D1 baseball is a fulfillment of Jakob’s dream. He is grateful for this opportunity but knows it won’t be easy. Playing at Xavier and against the top-level competition will help him further hone his skills and develop as a player. However, Xavier is just a stepping stone to reach his ultimate goal of making it to the major league. He is excited for what the future has in store… who knows, Jakob could be the first ISM alum playing in the MLB. What we all know for certain is this- the entire Bearcats community will be cheering him on through his journey!