SHELLA and XANDER MONTEZA: A Mother’s Ultimate Sacrifice For Her Son’s Dreams

Written By: ZerJosh Serrano and Paul Tamayo


Almost 11 years na ako nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa. 7 years old pa lang si Xander noong umalis ako.”

This is how Shella Monteza started to tell the story of her unconditional love and ultimate sacrifice for her family.

A loving wife to Ryan and a mother to Xander and Kirk, Shella left the country in quest of a greener pasture to provide for her family. She found herself working in Denmark for two years and then spent the next nine years in Singapore.

This might sound like a mainstream storyline wherein a loved one has to leave the country for a better fortune just like many of our kababayans. But a story of sacrifice and a never-ending battle of grief watching your children grow from a distant territory will never get old.


When Shella left the country, Xander was still an innocent grade schooler longing for the presence of his mother. But with the untiring help of his father, Xander was able to cope with the reality that he will grow without his mother beside him.

“Yung adjustment noong una mahirap kasi sana kasama namin si mama. Pero andyan naman palagi si papa para tumulong at sumuporta kaya kinaya namin.” Xander told us.

Xander is an avid participant of Rob Labagala’s Passion Sports. And just like millions of youths in the country, he is an enthusiastic basketball player and aims to hone the craft that was taught to him by his father.

“Nag-start ako sa basketball noong nakita ko si papa na naglalaro din,” Xander continued. “Na-engganyo ako at sinubukan ko. Namulat ako sa basketball dahil kay papa.”

Soon after, Xander’s hobby turned into something bigger and he joined his school’s basketball team. It was mother’s sacrifice that boosts his morale every game. His added fuel and motivation even earned him an MVP award during one of his stints.

Xander with his MVP award and with Elite Team 2019

Xander can’t help but admire his mother’s sacrifice knowing that she is doing everything to support him and his dreams.

“Added motivation for me na kahit nasa malayo si mama, sumusuporta pa rin siya sa akin. Isa si mama sa motivation ko. Yung sport na nilalaro ko, pangarap ko talaga para din sa pamilya ko. Malaking tulong ang sacrifice ni mama lalo na sa expenses ko sa mga training.” Xander said.

Distance is just a word for Shella and Xander. Instead of sulking herself in sadness and worry, Shella finds comfort in showing her love and support to his son each and every game. If she has to, she sets an alarm every game day. She always reminds Xander about his needs and shecontinuously encourages him to do his best every game.

As a form of her undying support, Shella would always Xander’s game through the Facebook Live platform.

“Kapag may laro si Xander, mag-aalarm din ako,” Shella looked back on how she would support her son during his games. “Ipapaalala ko sa kanya mga need niya at sinasabihan ko lang sya ng good luck. Manalo or matalo man, gawin niya best niya.”

It’s without a doubt that Shella is the number one fan of Xander. As long as her son can bear and overcome the difficulties of his choices, she will just tap him at the back and give her full support. Even in the sport of basketball where absorbing scars and bruises is just part of an everyday scene, Shella just pusher her son to pursue his dreams.

“Pinapayagan at sinuportahan namin si Xander. Tinatanong namin siya kung kaya niya kasi pisikalan ang basketball. Hindi naman kami umabot sa point na pagbawalan siya. Confident ako na kapag sinabi niya na kaya niya, kaya niya talaga.”

Supermom Shella with his kids back in 2019

Carrying his parents’ trust and confidence on his shoulders, Xander is bent on reaching for loftier goals. The young cager intends to participate in more Passion Sports training camps then try to play in the collegiate level. But for now, Xander’s full focus is to excel on his studies.

“Na-discover ko ang Passion Sports sa post ng friend ko na nasa Passion na din. Then nagkaroon sila ng camp sa Cavite kaya sinabi ko kay mama na gusto ko mag-try. I told her na kaya ko naman yung byahe. Pumayag naman siya.

Kung may magandang opportunity, plan ko na maglaro pa rin,” Xander added. “Pero for now, main focus ko talaga ay studies ko. But if I will be asked, gusto ko talaga either sa UE or Ateneo makapasok.”

Choosing UE is a no-brainer for Xander since the school is Coach Rob Labagala’s alma mater. Coach Rob is the founder of Passion Sports and was a former PBA player.

On the other hand, Ateneo’s rich basketball history has somehow captivated Xander’s attention. Nonetheless, either school will surely be beneficial to him both in academics and sports.

“Gusto ko makapasok sa UE kasi doon galing si Coach Rob. Nakwento before ni Coach Rob kung anong sistema meron sa UE. The other one naman is Ateneo. Pareho maganda basketball system nila and quality ng education.” Xander said.

Now that Xander has learned firsthand from one of the best coaches in the country, he cannot hide his desire to enroll again at Passion Sports. During the interview, the young cager gladly shared the best things he has learned from Passion Sports.

“Discipline and self-awareness. Ayan ang talagang tinuro sa amin ng Passion Sports. Ang itinuturo nila ay hindi lang applicable sa laro, pati din sa real life. Tinuruan nila kami ng discipline sa training, sa laro, sa pag-aaral at syempre sa pamilya kasi nag-aalaga din ako ng kapatid ko.” Xander said.


Discipline being his key to success, Xander was able to excel in both academics and sports. As mentioned before, he once won an MVP award. Not only that, he also graduated with honors when he was in Senior High School. Shella, can’t contain her joy as she commended her son’s efforts and hardships.

“Nakita ko kay Xander kung ano yung natutunan niya sa Passion Sports – disiplinado sya,” Shella said with an obvious hint of pride for her son. “Yun yung isang rule ko sa kanya. Kung may gusto siyang gawin, dapat kaya nya i-balanse yun sa pag-aaral niya.”

Truly, Shella’s sacrifice for her family is worth every tick of the clock and Xander is one of the living results of such an unselfish act. In almost 11 years of working afar from her family, Shella can’t hide the joy that she feels knowing that one of her sons has achieved such feat. Xander, on the other hand, is really grateful for the love and support his mother pours for their family.

Knowing that this great sacrifice costs them a lot of time together, still their love for each other is boundless.

As our interview came to an end, the two left sweet, eye-tearing, and heart-warming messages for each other.

“Thank you, Ma. Swerte ako kasi ikaw ang mother ko and thank you sa suporta sa akin. I love you, Ma.” -Xander

“Lahat naman ng sakripisiyo ko ay para sa kanila. Lagi ko sinasabi sa kanila na pag-igihan nila kasi soon magtatayo din sila ng sarili nilang pamilya. Makita ko lang maging maayos yung pamilya nila masaya na ako dun. Makita ko lang na maging maayos, sulit na yung sakripisyo ko.” -Shella


Presented By: