IN his desire to give back to his alma mater, Danny Ildefonso is returning to National University as one of the assistant coaches of the Bulldogs men’s basketball team in the UAAP.
NU coach Jamike Jarin confirmed the two-time PBA MVP has returned as an assistant coach to the school where he first made a name for himself as the star of the Bulldogs teams of the nineties.
Ildefonso, the top pick overall of the 1998 PBA draft who retired in 2015, has long awaited the chance to give back to his alma mater, Jarin said.
“He is the face of NU and the legendary player in the PBA. He wants to give back. It’s time to give back to his alma mater,” said Jarin, an assistant coach at Meralco when Ildefonso played out his final season in the pro league.
"That’s one good thing about him. He is willing to pay it forward especially with the young Bulldogs."
Ildefonso will be joined in the rejigged NU coaching staff by another PBA veteran in John Ferriols along with Dennis Llames, Ricky Reyes, and Cedrick Labing-isa.
Letran coach Jeff Napa, Jarin said, will also help the Bulldogs as his staff is part of the Bullpups juniors basketball team.
Expected to benefit from the hiring of Ildefonso are NU's big men especially Issa Gaye, the Senegalese player who is set to take over the center spot following Alfred Aroga graduation.
Ildefonso has been credited for the improved play of June Mar Fajardo, having taken the Cebuano under his wings during their time together at San Miguel.
The 6-10 Fajardo is now a three-time PBA MVP.
“Siyempre, together with John Ferriols, they can evolve him into a power player, finesse player, and improve on their outside game,” said Jarin.