National University rookie Dave Ildefonso and University of the East head coach Joe Silva had always looked forward to the first time they would face each other in the seniors level. And they had a plan prior to the game.
“Bago pa mag-season napag-usapan namin na barilan daw kami pag nakaka-shoot ako ng three-points,” disclosed Ildefonso, who played under Silva from UAAP Seasons 77 to 80.
And so the 6-foot-3 swingman attempted 10 triples in the contest, but only knocked down two. Still, the super rookie managed to tally 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, helping the Bulldogs end their five-game skid, 88-61, at the expense of Silva’s Red Warriors.
Besides the bet they had going on, it was weird for Ildefonso to not have Silva on his side. Just seven months ago, the two had won the Juniors Basketball crown together.
“It’s fun, tapos siyempre weird din. Yun nga sabi ni coach Jamike, he was the enemy pero after the games, after everything, coach ko pa rin siya, friend ko pa rin siya, lalo na kasi nag-champion kami atsaka three years din kami nagsama,” the 18-year-old Bulldog shared.
“Naging one of my mentors ko siya.”
If it was weird for Ildefonso, it was weirder for Silva.
“With regards to the Ildefonso brothers, they’re really very decent. Sobrang bait nila. Together with Enzo Joson season and the former Blue Eaglets team, sila yung core ng Season 77 and Season 80 champions last year,” said the youthful mentor.
“Mababait na bata yang mga yan. Again, wherever we are, whatever team we are in, we don’t forget each other, we still communicate with each other from time to time, talk about anything else aside from basketball. I consider them as family, mahal ko yang mga yan.”
One of the lessons Ildefonso learned from Silva was to fight until the very end. And it is the one things he carries with him as he and the Bulldogs try to climb out of the cellar in the second round.
“Oo naman kasi si coach Joe talaga, kahit tambak ng twenty or thirty o kaya up siya ng twenty or thirty, gusto niya pa ring makita sa players niya yung killer instinct. Yun yung lagi nyang sinasabi dati. Killer instinct,” shared the one-time UAAP Juniors Basketball Champion.
“Since gusto naming mag-champion, dapat umasta kaming champion.”