This is the 53rd article in Bears Doing Big Things, a weekly column celebrating the stories of notable M-A alumni.
Guiann Lacbayan ‘17 works for 888 Table Tennis Center as a digital content creator. He enjoyed his time at M-A, reflecting, “I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Lacbayan’s interest in digital content creation began unexpectedly at M-A in TV Communication and Production with John Giambruno. He said, “Going into TV Communication and Production, it was just an elective I wanted to try out. But, it ended up sparking my love for video. I’ve always appreciated films and video stuff all my life—I watch YouTube way too much—and it helped spur that passion for me.”
He continued to take digital media classes at M-A, and during his senior year in Video Production, Lacbayan made a final project, “Emily”, that played at the M-A Film Festival. The project taught him that “there are ways to be creative besides making music or traditional art.”
Lacbayan also played basketball at M-A, working his way up from Most Improved Player on the freshman team to Most Inspirational Player on the varsity team his senior year. During his junior year, which was one of the best basketball seasons in M-A history, the team won the league and played at the Sacramento Kings’ old arena during the NorCal finals. Playing on an NBA court “was unreal and a moment I will never forget,” he said.
Lacbayan attended San Francisco State University, where he majored in business administration with a concentration in marketing. Despite his love for video production, he did not plan to pursue it as a career. He explained, “When I chose to go into marketing, I was not planning on making videos at all. A lot of my peers were pretty pissed that I didn’t pursue something like film studies, but, at the time, I was thinking I need to do something more realistic and practical.”
“I’ve always been interested in the storytelling aspect of things, so I saw marketing as trying to tell the story of a company,” he said.
After realizing that he wanted to go into the sports industry, Lacbayan got his Masters in sport management from the University of San Francisco (USF). He said, “Growing up in sports my whole life, I came to realize that sports were the thing that really drove me. So I thought I might as well work in something that I love to do.”
Lacbayan’s love for film resurfaced at USF. “One of our very first assignments was connecting our passion to the industry of sports management. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I still really liked producing videos, and so it started to click that I could merge the two. We had to come up with a game plan of how we wanted to go about our professional careers. I decided I wanted to tell the stories of players and athletes in a way that helps tell whatever story needs to be told.”
During his second year at USF, Lacbayan filmed the men’s and women’s sports teams, mainly focusing on basketball: there, he found his passion. “Following both teams that whole year made me realize that this is what I’m supposed to do. I covered a lot of their games throughout the season, and I was fortunate enough to cover the conference tournament. I traveled with them to Las Vegas to film them the whole weekend,” he recalled.
While at USF, Lacbayan worked in guest experiences with the Warriors, and he continued to do so after graduating. With them, he won an NBA championship. At the same time, he worked for an assortment of companies doing video production, editing, and social media management.
In a full circle moment, Lacbayan found his way back to M-A coaching the JV basketball team with his old teammates and creating highlight reels for many players. He said, “I’ve always wanted to keep basketball in my life in some way, no matter if it’s coaching or playing or something else. I started offering to make highlights because, I know when I played, that was the stuff I wanted to have. Being able to give students videos they are proud of is rewarding because I know they appreciate it. I love the M-A basketball program’s brotherhood, and being able to give back to it has been really fulfilling.”
Lacbayan now works at 888 Table Tennis Center in Burlingame as a digital content creator. On the less popular sport, he said, “I get to shoot a lot of Olympic and national team level athletes. It’s a completely different sport to what I was anticipating, so it’s a great opportunity to tell stories of athletes who don’t usually get the spotlight in the US.”
Lacbayan has resided in the Bay Area his whole life. He said, “I can’t see myself living anywhere else. Being 30 minutes away from the beach and less than an hour to the city is great. Also, I love being able to stay close to my family. I would love to venture out if given the opportunity, but if all the opportunity stays in the Bay Area, I wouldn’t be mad about it either. There’s so much you can do out here, especially in a professional sense.”
Lacbayan’s advice to M-A students: “First things first, make sure you’re studying; you have to take care of business first. When you get to college and adulthood, there won’t be people looking over your shoulder anymore. It’ll be totally up to you to figure out how you’re going to manage your time. But also, go have fun. I know that sounds cliché, but I remember the feeling my senior year of, ‘This is going to be over pretty soon’ so make the most of high school. Also, go to the basketball games.”
Lacbayan’s advice to students looking into going into digital content creation: “Don’t ever stop trying new things and working hard, because the moment that you stop—that’s the moment you get comfortable. Once you get comfortable, you don’t create to the same level that you were. So, just keep creating no matter what, and don’t be afraid to take risks. There’s going to be some content that might only get a hundred views, but that new idea that you’re scared of trying might be the one that gets you popular and viral.”
More of Lacbayan’s work: