UAAP: Dave Ildefonso says Gilas experience helped in fitting in with Ateneo
Ateneo leaned on the scoring touch of Ildefonso, who delivered 19 points in his return to Ateneo, to outlast University of the Philippines, 90-81, on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The 21-year-old winger, who decided to transfer to Ateneo in 2020 after playing two seasons for National University, said he was able to study the system of Baldwin after being called up to the national team pool last year for the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga and Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
Although he wasn’t able to actually play in both tournaments due to a foot injury, being acquainted with the national team program resulted in a somewhat seamless shift to his new UAAP team.
“I’m one of the fortunate players who’ve been under coach Tab in Gilas. Since the pandemic we didn’t take a long break. We had our own bubbles and games as well,” said Ildefonso Ildefonso after shooting 7-of-14 from the field and had six rebounds and a steal to lead the Eagles.
“Just being under coach Tab during that duration of time made me understand the system much more. It’s just really a great system to be in. I’m just at a lost for words.”
Baldwin said he didn’t have a hard time coaching Ildefonso since the former Blue Eaglet is a “system guy and humble.”
“The whole process with Dave has been much more of a delight and much easier than I anticipated it will be and he gets the entire credits for that,” Baldwin said. “He came in very humble and he didn’t have to, you know, Dave has a big name in the game and they’ve performed very well in NU.”
“He came in with his own specific goals and objectives to make sure that the efforts that he made made the team better and I’ve never ever had to redress that with Dave once,” he added.
The former Philippine men’s basketball team coach is optimistic that Ildefonso’s return to Katipunan will end up as a good decision after an impressive debut as a Blue Eagle.
“What can I say as a coach other than this young man that made a big decision in his life, and he has made that decision where nobody else has made it work, And I think he will continue to make it work. and God willing, it is in the end a good decision for him and his future and you know, we certainly believe that it is,” Baldwin said. “I know that the work he’s putting in the caliber of young man that he is. I don’t see any roadblocks for him.”
The Kiwi-American coach hopes to see more from Ildefonso as Ateneo continues its quest for a fourth straight championship against fellow opening day winner FEU on Tuesday.
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