MANILA, Philippines -- Ella Fajardo will always be ready to represent the Philippines, even as she gears up for the next step of her basketball journey at the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in New Jersey.
Fajardo, an incoming 12th grader at Gill St. Bernard's School, committed to FDU in July. She still has one more season of high school basketball left before leaving for college.
"I definitely do have some goals," said Fajardo during an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday. "I think my main goal is to get that championship in our division. We haven't done that yet."
"Also, hopefully reach my thousandth point," she said. "I might be able to do that as well in my last year as a high school player."
Fajardo is excited for her upcoming collegiate career, as she gets to play in a Division 1 school while also getting a quality education.
When she committed to FDU, Fajardo said that she is "working hard every day to prove myself over and over and earn every victory and success that comes my way."
But Fajardo also made it clear that she is looking forward to once again representing the Philippines in the international stage. She played for the Gilas Pilipinas Women's Team in the FIBA Asia Under-18 3x3 Tournament in Malaysia last year, where she, Kristine Cayabyab, Camille Clarin, and Angelica Surada won a historic bronze medal.
"Oh for sure, whenever Coach Pat (Aquino) needs me, or whenever the flag needs me, I'll be there," said Fajardo.
Though she and her family are based in the United States now, Fajardo always keeps the Philippines in mind. It's where she learned the fundamentals of basketball, having attended Milo-BEST Center seminars as a child.
Thus, she wants to keep giving back to the country, particularly by playing for the Gilas Women's Team.
"I really do play to represent my country as much as I can, given the fact that I learned fundamentals from the BEST Center. I wouldn't have been here if it weren't for them," she said.