DAVE Ildefonso was driven to extend the Ateneo Blue Eaglets season some more in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball tournament.
The son of PBA great Danny Ildefonso was so driven in fact that he had a conscious effort of driving to the rack more for a team-high 19 points on Tuesday to lift Ateneo to a 75-56 victory over Far Eastern University-Diliman, the win putting the Blue Eaglets and the Baby Tamaraws to a no-tomorrow match for a championship berth on Friday.
The 16-year-old Ildefonso turned to his strengths on offense as his performance allowed Ateneo to play one more game for a chance to make it to the Finals.
“I became more aggressive and drove to the basket more. Do-or-die na kasi. Final Four na. Ang matatalo, uuwi,” said Ildefonso.
The 6-foot-2 Ildefonso actually had a respectable 10 points and 11 rebounds in the playoff match for the No. 2 spot last Thursday but the Blue Eaglets collapsed in the endgame to give up a 64-62 decision over the Baby Tamaraws.
But what changed for the Blue Eaglets, Ildefonso believed, was their ability to close out Tuesday’s game as he lauded the effort of the entire team.
“Halos pareho lang ‘yung situation namin sa first game. Ahead kami by double digit sa first half, pero what we were able to do today is we had that killer instinct na i-baon ‘yung kalaban at ‘wag bigyan ng chance na makabalik,” said Ildefonso.
It is that same formula, according to Ildefonso, that will help the Blue Eaglets overcome the Baby Tamaraws once again in the rubber match for a Finals berth.
“Since napakita na namin na kaya namin, ‘yug killer instinct lang talaga kailangan namin. Hindi kami dapat mag-relax,” said Ildefonso.