MANILA, Philippines – Just like any other basketball player, Jordan Bartlett is working hard to make his name known.
After transferring out of the National University Bulldogs in his rookie season two years ago, the 22-year-old Fil-Am guard is ready to debut in the loaded backcourt of the De La Salle University Green Archers.
Having been forced to sit out the entirety of last season due to residency rules, Bartlett is itching to get back to the bright lights of collegiate basketball and once again dazzle crowds with his mix of hard drives and shifty crossovers.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Training has been tough, but I tried to make the most out of my residency by training hard, getting bigger, faster, stronger. I feel like I’m very prepared and ready to go.”
While Bartlett is most well-known for his fire on the basketball court, his passion extends well beyond its shaded lines.
Whenever his busy schedule allows it, Bartlett spends time with his own charity, the PUSO Foundation (Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others), where he is the executive director here in the Philippines.
Before he gets fully locked in with La Salle this Season 82 to fulfill his dreams, he’ll spend some time first to fulfill the dreams of others.
On Sunday, August 25, Bartlett and his team at PUSO will hold a basketball camp at Paraiso ng Batang Maynila Covered Court in Malate, Manila. Unlike most basketball camps, however, the foundation is also set to provide school supplies to 50 underprivileged kids attending it.
“We want to have a good time, teach them basketball and then provide them school supplies so that they can focus on school without having to think about any money for supplies or anything like that,” he said.
Founded in Virginia, USA last 2017 by Bartlett’s friend and former teammate Robert Banez, PUSO Foundation’s mission is to provide hope with a purpose, and empower those living in undeserved areas throughout the world.
Joining the foundation was supposed to be a one-time thing for Bartlett, who got invited by Banez to a basketball camp in San Juan City where they gave out basic necessities like clothes and bags.
Bartlett’s newfound passion to give back, however, got the best of him and now, he no longer sees a future where he is not a part of this movement.
“Really, it’s because it has a personal connection for me,” he said. “I know the roots of the organization and the heart behind why [Banez] started it – being able to give back with selfless passion. Joining the PUSO Foundation and bringing it out here to the Philippines just seemed right in my heart because of the connections I have with communities here.”
Now as a leader of the Philippine’s PUSO chapter, Bartlett shares that the best is yet to come down the line.
“In the next 5 years, we plan to establish the first PUSO School,” he said. “We’ll have student scholarship programs in the Philippines to provide free education to those who can’t afford it but do deserve it.”
“By 2025, we want to establish the first PUSO Medical Mission,” he continued. “We will take in international medical staff to come over here and help those people who can’t afford health care.”
Bartlett believes that his connection with his community and the Filipino sports world can come together and help achieve’s PUSO’s goals, which was already proven just last month.
“This past month, I was able to collaborate with Gabe Norwood and some of the local artists here in the Philippines,” he said. “We made a sneaker and jersey auction where we were actually able to raise P180,000 for the PUSO Foundation alone.”
He went on, saying that “as long as we find people who are willing to serve selflessly such as the many PBA stars who contributed to that event, then I think the growth and the vision that we explained can come to fruition.”
While Bartlett firmly stated that his connection with PUSO will in no way interfere with his commitment to his basketball dreams, he also promised to give whatever time he can spare to possibly make others’ lives a bit better – all within PUSO’s vision of providing hope.
“Since 2017, the blessings have been far greater than expected,” said Bartlett, who is part of HypeSports PH along with teammate Aljun Melecio. “We’ve been growing by the day, by the week, by the month. With every event, we established more connections with people that are willing to collaborate with us.”
“As long as I continue to have a platform, I’ll continue to find a way to give back.” – Rappler.com