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    Surreal feeling as Shaun Ildefonso makes PBA debut vs dad's team

    Jun 2, 2022
    Shaun Ildefonso is set for his PBA debut.
    Shaun Ildefonso is set for his PBA debut.
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    SHAUN Ildefonso could only laugh after learning that that his first pro game with Rain or Shine will be against his father Danny and PBA newcomer Converge.

    "Sabi ko lang kay Tatay na sa Sunday, wala munang tatay, wala munang anak. Binibiro ko nga siya na 1-0 na kami eh," said the Elasto Painters rookie on the opening-day game against the FiberXers, where his dad is one of the deputy coaches.

    But as surreal as this feels for the No. 10 pick in the PBA Season 47 Rookie Draft, it's also a realization of a lifelong dream for one of the basketball-playing Ildefonso bros who grew up watching Lakay tear it up in the PBA.

    [See Danny I in seventh heaven after Shaun drafting]

    "Dati pinapanood ko lang siya. Kaya naman nag-start yung PBA dream ko dahil sa kanya. To finally achieve that and finally play against him really means a lot," said the 6-foot-2 forward out of National University.

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    Now though, the younger Ildefonso has the chance to not only follow in his father's footsteps but also prove that he belongs in the big leagues as he seeks to find his place in this hard-knocks Rain or Shine team.

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    "Si boss Jireh [Ibanes], he's been known as a role player at sobrang tagal niya sa Rain or Shine. Sinasabi niya lang sa akin na magkaka-career ako dito basta gawin ko yung role ko," he said.

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      "Di naman ako yung tao na trying hard too much. I'm the type na kung ano ang kailangan ko gawin, yun muna gagawin ko. Bonus na yung iba. Kaya sabi ko sa kanila, di kayo magsisisi dahil di ako magkukulang sa extra work outside ng practice. Sabi ko rin sa kanila, 'Coach, whatever you need me to do, I'll do it.' Kailangan naman same goal kami para manalo."

      The question now is will Shaun pull off a dunk and do those raise-the-roof celebrations like his dad during his heyday?

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      He sure hopes so.

      "Sana maka-fastbreak at sana di pa ako pagod. Baka kasi patay na yung legs ko eh," he said with a chuckle.

      "Kaya ko naman mag-dunk. Sa UAAP, di ako naka-dunk so sabi ko, 'This is the time, this is the best place to do it.' Kasi si tatay di naman nagre-raise the roof noong nasa NU siya. Wala pa siyang alam noon. So if I have the chance and hopefully, if that day comes, it's gonna be crazy."

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      Shaun Ildefonso is set for his PBA debut.
      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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