DANNY Ildefonso is mentoring a new batch of Alaska players for the 2020 season of the PBA as the Aces assistant coach now has under his wings young bigs in Barkley Eboña and Rey Publico, who were recently signed by the Aces after being drafted last year.
And Eboña said he is fortunate that he has Ildefonso as one of his coaches at Alaska during his rookie year in the PBA after spending his college days with Far Eastern University.
“Napakalaki talaga,” said Eboña, selected fourth overall in last year’s regular draft. “Si Coach Danny, alam natin legend sa PBA, magaling na big. Sobrang grateful ako na nasa Alaska siya.”
A two-time MVP, Ildefonso is largely credited for the development of June Mar Fajardo when they were teammates with San Miguel as well as Vic Manuel when he became an assistant coach of Alaska.
Eboña said he is learning a lot from Ildefonso, who is also patient in being a teacher to his fellow bigs.
“Every practice namin, nagpapaturo ako sa kanya, kay coach Danny at kay coach Tony (Dela Cruz). Kay coach Tony sa shooting, kay coach Danny, ‘yung galaw sa ilalim. Malaking tulong talaga sila,” said the 6-foot-5 power forward.
Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso is happy with the showing of Eboña during the preseason.
“He is a guy who is no non-sense,” said Cariaso. “Hindi siya napapagod, rebound ng rebound, he is not afraid to be physical. He knows he is a little bit undersized but we like the fact that he is not backing down.”
Eboña had a decent preseason where he also had a 10-point, 10-rebound performance during Alaska’s match against five-time Philippine Cup champion San Miguel in the Phoenix Pulse pocket tournament.
Cariaso said Ildefonso will definitely a big boost to Eboña as well as the other young bigs such as Publico, who was drafted in the second round along with guard Jaycee Marcelino by Alaska.
Rey Publico (rightmost) poses with his fellow Letran alumni Bonbon Batiller, Jerrick Balanza, and Christian Balagasay.
“He is working a lot with coach Danny so we expect his offensive game to improve also,” said Cariaso.
Eboña said it’s still too early to tell whether he can already apply what Ildefonso has taught him during the preseason, but the former Tamaraw vowed to work hard and do his role with the Aces.
“Maraming nagsasabi na kapag nasa pro ka, sariling sikap mo na. Grateful ako na willing silang tumulong sa akin. Hindi nila ako pinapabayaan. Tignan natin kung maapply ko this season. Hopefully, ma-apply ko talaga. Nakakatulong talaga sa individual at sa team,” said Eboña.