Basketball

‘MAS MAGALING SAKIN ITO’ | Danny Ildefonso proud of his son playing for Batang Gilas

Sports5 file/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Sports5 file/Pranz Kaeno Billones

CAGAYAN DE ORO — Danny Ildefonso has played with the Philippine team many times before as an amateur and as a professional player, and he knows that playing for flag and country is a huge honor.

That’s why he is elated to see his very own son, Sian Dave, become a member of the Batang Gilas squad that is seeing action in the Southeast Asia Basketball Associaion Under-16 tournament here.

“Gusto niya talagang maglaro, ito yung napakalaking bagay na nangyari sa kanya, nung napasok siya dito sa 16-under Philippine team. Magkaroon siya ng exposure. Napaka-blessed niya na mapasama siya,” Ildefonso told InterAksyon.com in an exclusive interview.

“Imagine mo 12 lang kayo ang daming puwedeng mag-try out tapos 12 lang ang kinuha, ibig sabihin suwerte ka kapag nakuha ka. Pero kailangan rin ipakita mo na deserving ka.”

Sian Dave, a grade 10 student from Ateneo, has shown his remarkable improvement for the Batang Gilas squad the past month. Once playing the post just like his dad, the younger Ildefonso, a 6-foot-3 forward, has now moved on to play the wing spot.

During practices, Danny was already informed by the coaches about how his son has quickly progressed in his new role.

“Sabi ng mga coaches, ang bilis nga raw ng mag-adopt sa position from 4 to 3. Tuwang-tuwa rin ako na-adopt niya yung system sa position. Mahirap rin kasi ‘yung galing ka sa 4, pupunta ka sa 3. Kailangan kasi doon may dribbling, may shooting natutuwa rin ako sa improvement niya,” Ildefonso said who added that his son, despite his young age, has even more basketball know-how than the two-time PBA MVP.

“Tingin ko nga mas mataas yung IQ niya sa akin sa basketball. Kasi mabilis niya ma-adopt yung adjustment,” Ildefonso said.

The Meralco Bolts veteran also shared how he teaches his son to become even a better player.

“Naglalaro kami minsan kapag wala akong practice, niyayaya ko talaga sila sa court. Si Sian Dave, tinuturuan ko siya ng konti. Lalong lalo na nung nagta-try out pa lang siya tsaka nung bago pa lang siya sa Philippine team. Binibigyan ko siya ng tip kung paano niya gagawin yung adjustment kasi dati siyang 4 pero ginawa siyang 3. Sa shooting ko na siya ngayong pinagpo-focus saka sa drive sa loob, kung paano gagawin niya kapag nakuha niya yung bola sa wing,” he added.

Himself a veteran of many international tournaments, Ildefonso reminded Sian Dave how important it is to represent the country.

“Importanteng importante na mapasama ka sa national team kasi bansa, Pilipinas yung hindi yung school. Iba talaga kapag Philippine team. Kasi sa Philippine team, buong bansa sumusuporta sa iyo kaya ang laki ring responsibility mo as a player,” Ildefonso said.

“Sinabi ko sa kanya na magiging iba yung kumpiyansa niya sa paglalaro. Importante kasi yung may kumpiyansa ka sa paglalaro.”

Lending a hand

Ildefonso flew all the way here to witness his son play.

“Isa sa mga reasons bakit ako andito dahil sa anak ko nga para makapanood ako kasi ayaw kong ma-miss yung mga ganitong pagkakataon. Kahit na may practice na kami sa Saturday, gusto ko pa ring makapanood. Iba kasi yung naglalaro ka tsaka yung nanonood ka ngayon,” said Ildefonso.

On Tuesday’s practice, Ildefonso helped not only his son but the entire Batang Gilas team as he graced the training session.

Except for Sam Josef Belangel and Berjay Romulo, who have yet to join the squad as they only arrived early afternoon from their previous summer classes, Ildefonso taught the 10 players the basic fundamentals of the game.

Time would only tell whether Sian Dave would become a better ball player than his dad. But one thing is certain: Danny is very proud of his son who is juggling his time between basketball and studies.

“Doon ko nga lang nalaman kung gaano kahirap sa Ateneo, kasi bukod sa basketball, kailangan mo ring mag-aral talaga. Kaya masasabi ko na mas magaling sa akin itong anak ko kasi ako noon panay basketball lang eh,” Ildefonso said.

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