RISING star Ella Fajardo hopes to inspire more young women to try basketball and not be afraid of what others may say.
Born and raised in New Jersey, USA, the eldest among three sisters is slowly making not only her parents, Allan and Ellen, but the Filipinos as well.
She’s currently a sophomore point guard from Gill St. Bernard's School in New Jersey and with her determination and hard work, she has caught the attention of college basketball scouts in the US, including those of the prestigious Yale University.
Growing up in the States, Ella has always been the shortest among the group but that only made her step up her game even more.
“Always, [I’m] always [the shortest] but you know when I’m on that court I really don’t notice them [other people] anymore,” said Ella, who stands 5-foot-5.
“I’ve been accustomed to be being the shortest since I was in third grade all the way to where I am now but I’ve adapted to it and I really like the challenge and proving people wrong when they see me and think that she’s really short,” she added.
As part of her basketball training, the Fajardos would travel to the Philippines to attend the Best Center.
During their recent trip, Ella was invited to join the UAAP women’s basketball champion National University and national team Perlas Pilipinas in their practice sessions.
“I’d like to see more girls involved in basketball because when I was in the Best Center it was just me and Ava and maybe one girl somewhere and that was ok,” said Ella.
“But visiting NU and Perlas, they were so good and they were so physical, a little bit different from the States even, but in a good way, everyone’s kind of rough with each other,” she added.
Being with the older and much experienced basketball players, Ella has learned a lot even if it was just a short period of time.
“That kind of taught me mental toughness and the things that I didn’t learn in the US and that’s because of girls basketball evolving,” she said.
“And I hope that it would evolve even more because we [girls] can do it,” she added.