TWO-TIME league MVP Danny Ildefonso is set to play for the rest of the PBA’s 2014 season after signing a contract extension on Tuesday afternoon with the Meralco Bolts until the end of August.
The 6’5” Ildefonso, who came on board the Bolts as a free agent during the latter part of the Philippine Cup’s eliminations, finished with averages of 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 blocks in five games.
He originally signed a one-conference pact with Meralco at the start of the New Year and his contract was supposed to expire this February.
Ildefonso, who was left out in the cold by longtime team Petron, the only team he played for in his first 15 years in the league, has been a positive influence as well as an inspiration to the Bolts, according to Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
“After seeing him (Ildefonso) play, we realized that he has an incredible value in what we are trying to accomplish,” Gregorio told Spin.ph.
Gregorio, who has three PBA titles tucked under his belt, believes that the 37-year-old former National University Bulldogs star is “not yet over the hill” after a surprisingly good showing in the Philippine Cup.
“He is not washed out and not yet completely over the hill,” said Gregorio. “He still has it in his system. His competitive drive and fighting spirit have not deserted him.”
While the Meralco coach no longer expects MVP-like output from Ildefonso for the rest of the season, Gregorio believes the five-time Best Player of the Conference awardee’s veteran presence can be a strong influence to the Bolts in the succeeding conferences.