VETERAN Danny Ildefonso’s comeback came to an abrupt end on Monday night following Meralco’s heartbreaking 94-91 loss to Alaska in their knockout game for the last quarterfinal berth in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A free agent pick-up by Meralco after his 15-year stay with Petron came to an end, Ildefonso played a total of six games with the Bolts off the bench and averaged 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.6 blocks in 26 minutes of action.
Coach Ryan Gregorio said Ildefonso’s addition no doubt, made the team better because of his experience and positive influence to a Bolts squad that has been hit by injuries for the most part of the season-opening conference.
“He (Ildefonso) helped us tremendously,” admitted Gregorio. “Though the outcome did not bring us to our desired destination, I still felt that DI gave us a lot of competitive resolve and fighting spirit.”
Ildefonso, according to his coach, added a steady presence to a Bolts team that was supposed to have power forward Kerby Raymundo this season.
Unfortunately, the 33-year-old Raymundo failed to play a single game for the team since being acquired by the Bolts in a trade with Ginebra during the offseason owing to a knee injury.
Ildefonso’s one conference contract with the Bolts expires at the end of February, though Gregorio said there is no urgency to talk about an extension with the 37-year-old two-time league MVP.
“No urgency to decide now and it’s similar to the situation of our other players whose contracts expire at the end of February,” explained the three-time league champion coach.
The 41-year-old Gregorio said he is looking to "reflect and recharge" following the Bolts’ failure to make the playoffs.