DANNY Ildefonso may no longer be a spring chicken at the age of 37, but coach Leo Isaac believes Blackwater Sports got the steal of the dispersal draft in the two-time PBA MVP after seeing him in practice the past two days.
Isaac got a chance to see the 6-foot-5 Ildefonso work out on Monday and Tuesday, saying he was amazed by the veteran's work ethic and intrigued by his pre-game practice 'rituals.’
“Nagulat nga kami, kasi kahapon nung bago mag-ensayo, marami siyang rituals,” Isaac told Spin.ph on Tuesday after the team’s practice at the SGS gym along Araneta Avenue, Quezon City.
Isaac, who steered Blackwater to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup title last year, said Ildefonso had some intricate stretching exercises before joining them in practice.
The veteran big man, later on, proceeded to the weight gym and spent one-and-a-half hours lifting weights to continue working on his conditioning.
“Nakakatuwa nga habang pinagmamasdan ko siya. Eh sinabi ko nga sa coaching staff ko, 'Kaya nga Danny Ildefonso iyan eh, yung PBA MVP,” he said with a smile.
Although Ildefonso averaged just 12 minutes in 21 games last season while playing for Meralco, Isaac remained confident the 1998 top rookie pick can be an asset to the team with his experience and leadership.
Blackwater has been able to form a mix of veterans and young playersfrom last week’s dispersal draft.
Aside from Ildefonso, players acquired by Blackwater from the dispersal draft include former Rain or Shine guard Alex Nuyles, JR Cawaling, veteran forward Eddie Laure, Bryan Faundo, JP Erram, Paul Artadi, Gilbert Bulawan, Bambam Gamalinda, Chris Timberlake, Norman Gonzales, and Robby Celiz.
“Basta dito sa team, team concept ang ine-emphasize ko. Di namin pinipili kung sino ang individuals na puputok. I think importante lang eh basta masaya ang team sa practice at maramdaman mong nag-e-enjoy sila,” added Isaac, who was part of the 1991 Ginebra team that bounced back from a 1-3 deficit to beat Shell Rimula-X in a historic PBA First Conference title conquest.