Ella Fajardo, Vanessa de Jesus + 16 other Fil-Ams to see action in US NCAA

Nov 4, 2021
(From Left) Vanessa de Jesus of Duke University, Ella Patrice Fajardo of Farleigh Dickinson, and Kayla Padilla of Penn State

AS THIS year has proven over and over, with Hidilyn Diaz's Olympic gold and Jack Animam's sensational stint in Serbia, Filipina talent is indeed competitive at an international level.

In the Stateside, as the prestigious US Women's NCAA is back in action for a brand new season, there is a long list of players with Filipino roots who are suiting up for various universities.

With the help of Fil-Am Nation Select, a California-based organization, we were able to identify a few — some already familiar names, while others are new faces for the local fans.


    Ella Patrice Fajardo, Fairleigh Dickinson

    This Gilas Women's guard is to make her debut in the states with Fairleigh Dickinson Women's Basketball team. She announced her commitment to the school just last July.

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    Her debut game is on November 11, Thursday against St. John.

    Vanessa de Jesus, Duke

    After an encouraging short season with the Duke University Blue Devils last year, V is set to make her comeback as one of the five returnees. On her sophomore year, she is expected to take the leadership role under the guidance of coach Kara Lawson.

    Her opening game is on November 10, Wednesday, against Winthrop.

    Kayla Padilla, Penn

    This California native is already on her junior year for the University of Pennsylvania. During her rookie year, she won the 2020 Ivy League Rookie of the Year award. Kayla is also among those Fil-AM ballers who has expressed interest in joining Gilas.

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    First game is on November 10, Wednesday, against Hawaii.

    Malia Bambrick, Pepperdine

    Now on her senior year, Pepperdine guard Bambrick is one of her team's leaders, averaging 9.1 points per game over the last two years. Encouragingly for Pinoy fans hoping for an added boost to our Gilas lineup, Bambrick is also reportedly a holder of a Filipino passport.

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    Lexi Mark, LMU

    From Boise, Alexis trasnferred to Loyola Marymount University. Last year, she averaged 9.4 points per game in 26.0 minutes of action.

    Kiera Oakry, University of San Diego

    A returning junior for the USD Toreros, Kiera is working to make some noise in yet another year in the US NCAA.

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    Aurea Gingras, George Washington University

    The 5-foot-8 guard will play her sophomore year with George Wash. Last season, she appeared in 22 games, and posted an average of 3.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, with 18.4 minutes played apiece.

    Laila Phelia, University of Michigan

    Class of 2021, straight out of high school, Phelia, who is 6'0", committed to Michigan and is looking to make her mark in college play.

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    Lei McIntosh, Cal Berkeley

    Junior guard McIntosh has started all 15 games she had with the Cal Bears, and will surely gun for more as she returns for another season.

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    Cherilyn Molina, Washington State

    The younger sister of Chanelle, Cherilyn is playing her second year with the WSU Cougars. Last season she averaged 3.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg, and 1.3 apg, along with 0.9 steals.

    Chinew Ezeonu, Seattle University

    Last season, Fil-Nigerian Ezeonu appeared in a total of 25 games, starting 20 of them. She averaged 5.4 points and 6.0 rebounds in 21.2 minutes, and will play her senior year this coming season.

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    Gabby Rones, University of Nevada

    Rones is a sophomore guard for the Nevada Wolfpack. She played in 14 games and made one start in her rookie season, and had an average playing time of 9 minutes.

    Mel Isbell, New Mexico State

    This Vegas native is now commited to New Mexico State. Last year, she suited up for 30 games in ULVN, and dropped a career-high 13 points.

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    Jessica Malazarte, Fresno

    This senior guard only stands 5-foot-2 but is reliable on the court. As a senior, she posted an average of 4.3 points per game, ranked second on the team in points per game, shooting at a 36.6 percentage from the field.

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    Abigail Akamine, Ohio Northen University

    After full high school stint in Lahainaluna High School, Abby committed to play college ball with Ohio Northern University.

    Ayzhiana Basallo, Arizona State

    The senior guard for the ASU Sun Devils, Ayzhiana is set to play two more years after she transferred from San Jose last April 2021.

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    Mia Yanogacio, Delaware University

    A 5-foot-7 freshman guard for the Blue Hens, Yanogacio hopes to introduce herself in the collegiate stage after four years of play in Rutgers Prep High School.

    Brianna Furch, Cal State Fullerton

    Fullerton graduated from Brentwood School in 2021, and this Vancouver native is to see action for the Cal State Titans as a guard.

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    (From Left) Vanessa de Jesus of Duke University, Ella Patrice Fajardo of Farleigh Dickinson, and Kayla Padilla of Penn State
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