DANNY Ildefonso holds the most number of Best Player of the Conference awards in the league, having won the PBA honor five times during his prime with San Miguel Beer.
And he's just happy to see student Junemar Fajardo win his first one.
“Iko-congratulate ko siya (Fajardo) kasi deserving siya at napakasipag na bata,” Ildefonso said shortly after Fajardo won the first major individual award of his career by beating out Petron/San Miguel teammate Arwind Santos and Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar in the Philippine Cup balloting.
Although the two no longer play under one team, Ildefonso said he was no longer surprised that the 24-year-old former University of Cebu star had won the award given the time and effort the sophomore center has invested in the game since turning pro in 2012.
The two-time league MVP said he would be more surprised if Fajardo fails to dominate the league, given his size, height, blue-collar work ethic, and sound basketball fundamentals.
“Sinabi ko nga sa kanya (Fajardo) na magagalit ako kapag di niya nakuha ang Best Player (of the Conference),” Ildefonso said. “Pero, puwede pa siya mag-improve. Sana nga magkaroon pa siya ng extra work, yung one-on-one.”
Still, the 37-year-old Ildefonso, who is now with Meralco, said the sky is the limit for Fajardo - so long as he continues to work hard.
“Malaki siya, 6-foot-10. Kita mo naman na consistent double-double na siya (in the Philippine Cup). Sana patuloy pa siya mag-hard work,” Ildefonso said.