Gilas Women standout Ella Fajardo gears up for US NCAA stint

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) - Gilas Pilipinas Women standout Ella Fajardo is ready to represent the Philippine flag in the American collegiate basketball scene.

Although she still has a year left as the team captain of Gill St. Bernard High School women's basketball team, the 17-year old cager has committed to play for US NCAA Division 1 school Fairleigh Dickinson University.

"One of the primary reasons I chose to go there actually is because of the type of relationship I have with the coaches there. The main coach and the assistant coaches are fairly new, this is going to be their third season when I'm a freshman so it's really a new environment and they really need me for that leadership piece," said Fajardo during the virtual Philippine Sportswriters' Association Forum on Tuesday.

The New Jersey-born Fajardo expressed her excitement in playing for a US NCAA Division 1 university as this will be her stepping stone to reach her dream of playing in the Women's National Basketball Association.

But Fajardo stressed her ultimate commitment in her basketball career is to represent the Philippines in international basketball tournaments.

"I have thought about it (WNBA) for sure but honestly I think that my heart is where my home is, my country the Philippines. I am currently a member of the national women's Gilas Pilipinas team right now and I really do plan to represent my country as much as I can," she said.

Fajardo was part of the Gilas Pilipinas Women squad that clinched a historic bronze medal in the FIBA Under-18 3x3 World Cup in Mongolia last year.

CNN Philippines reporter Pauline Verzosa contributed to this report.