In both of their elimination round games, the National University Bulldogs have been the bane of the FEU Tamaraws.
And leading the way in both games was Dave Ildefonso.
In their first round encounter last September 25 — that saw NU hammer FEU 61-39, — the 6-foot-2 guard dropped 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and eight rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to their first win.
Ildefonso then upped the ante 14 days later. He scored 27 points built on five triples, plus 11 rebounds, to lead NU to an 85-79 overtime win.
And it’s because he wanted to show his godfather Olsen Racela how much he has improved.
“Sabi lagi sa akin ni Tatay [Danny Ildefonso] palagi na kung may gusto kang i-look up na point guard, i-look up ko si Ninong Olsen,” recalled the 19-year-old.
“Prime ni Tatay, kaya siya nakakakuha ng points dahil sa playmaking at IQ ni Ninong Olsen. Bata pa ako noon at kumakain lang ako sa Araneta noon.”
Ildefonso credits his “natural” basketball skillset to his dad’s ex-teammates Racela and Danny Seigle. Back then, the trio led a formidable San Miguel Beermen squad to seven PBA crowns.
“Buti na lang naging ninong ko si Ninong Olsen at Ninong Seigle, kasi may mag-guide sa akin as point guard, may mag-guide sa akin na wingman.
“Blessed ako na ninong ko siya at nandiyan siya palagi para magbigay ng guidance,” he expressed.
Racela says that he has no hand in forming Ildefonso as a player, though. He believes that Dave was destined to be a cager like his father, who is a two-time PBA MVP.
“Nung maliit pa ‘yan? Hindi. Laro-laro lang mga ‘yan eh. Iniwan ko na sa tatay yun. I’d like to think na nakatulong ako sa galing niya, pero iba yung genes talaga ng Ildefonso eh.”
Though the Bulldogs have struggled the past two years, Ildefonso, who is just in his second year, has been putting up the numbers for NU.
And Racela knows that this is just the beginning for Dave.
“Ako, ‘di ako naniniwalang napakabata pa ng laro niya. He’s a mature player. He sees the game differently. He’s not a sophomore anymore. I was talking about decision-making — he makes the right decisions sa loob ng court. Seasoned player na yun kung ganun eh — and this is only his second year,” said Racela, an all-time PBA great.
“Imagine kung anong magagawa pa niya in the years to come. He’s really their best player and he showed that today.”