Converge assistant coach Danny Ildefonso felt that imparting lessons would be better if he’s actually in the trenches alongside the young wards.
Thus, the decision to lace up his sneakers once again and sign a deal with the FiberXers for the rest of the PBA Governors’ Cup, marking his return to the pros about eight years after announcing his first retirement.
“Para mas madali magturo para sa akin,” said the cage legend known as the ‘Demolition Man,’ who’s a two-time league MVP.
Ildefonso played his first game back on Friday against Meralco — coincidentally the last team he played for before hanging up his kicks — and he admitted that there’s plenty of catching up to do to regain his rhythm.
The last time he played in the PBA was in June 27, 2015, when his Bolts beat San Miguel, 106-99, in Game 1 of the Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.
He checked into the match at the 8:51-mark of the first quarter, but immediately gave up a foul on Cliff Hodge seconds into his entry in an attempt to stop his former teammate from scoring, though he was late.
The 46-year-old would play just a total of four minutes and 17 seconds, with a rebound and a turnover in the eventual defeat, 132-129.
“Makikita mo wala pa, delayed pa ‘yung reaction ng katawan,” said Ildefonso, who’s a member of the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players.
Converge is playing again on Sunday versus Ginebra but the eight-time PBA champion is tempering expectations about turning in a better showing.
His focus now, really, is on getting in better game shape in the coming weeks, which will also be the tail-end of the elimination round.
“Sabi ko naman, ‘wag pa mag-expect kasi kumbaga, ang ano ko talaga is ‘yung two to three weeks, ‘yung makakatulong pa ako,” he said.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.