DANNY Ildefonso admitted experiencing the jitters as he called the shots in a college game for the first time and gave himself low marks even if the NU Bulldogs wound up with the win.
It didn’t help that the cellar-dwelling winless Tigers took a slim lead in the first 10 minutes while the former two-time PBA MVP called the shots in lieu of suspended NU coach Jamike Jarin.
“To be honest, mababa pa ako. Wala pa talaga,” Ildefonso said.
Ildefonso is lead assistant under Jarin at NU, but on Sunday found out that taking over a team from the sidelines is a totally different experience.
“Kanina nung first half medyo natataranta ako e. Ibang iba talaga ang player sa coach e,” said Ildefonso.
“As a player, pag binigay sa akin yung bola, alam ko na gagawin ko. Pero dito, andaming players na kailangan tingnan at yung kalaban pa,” he added.
Matt Salem, NU’s top performing local player for the night with 22 points and 10 boards, begged to differ, giving Ildefonso a high grade in his UAAP coaching debut.
“No, he’s 10/10!”
The 17-year PBA veteran thanked consultants Jeff Napa and Chico Manabat and fellow assistants John Ferriols, Dennis Llamas Ricky Reyes and Cedric Labing-isa who helped guide the Bulldogs.
Jamike Jarin served out a suspension after getting called for two technical fouls in the loss to Ateneo four days ago.
“Magagaling ang mga assistant coaches namin. Nagusap-usap lang kami. Talagang very busy sila na nagbibigay ng input at kung anong kailangan gawin sa loob kaya naging madali sa akin yung sa second half because yung mga assistant coaches, sinasabihan ako palagi,” he continued.
Ildefonso also thanked Jarin for trusting in him to handle the reins.
“Sabi ni coach Jamike ‘Coach D, wag mo ko isipin. Bahala ka mag-coach diyan. Kung ano 'yung tingin mo, kung saan ka nababagay, kung ano yung tingin mong maipapanalo yung team, wag mo ko isipin,’ kaya grabe yung binigay sa akin ni coach Jamike na experience ngayon,” Ildefonso said.
Jarin need not worry as Ildefonso said he has no plans yet of pursuing a head-coaching job. The pride of Urdaneta, Pangasinan says he enjoys being the skills development coach.
“Wala akong ambition sa coaching, wala pa to be honest. Alam naman ni coach Jamike. Sabi ko sa kanya, hindi ko pinapangarap maging head coach and ang sabi niya hindi ka kasi dun napupunta,” said Ildefonso.
That doesn’t mean he’s closing doors though.
“Pero, tignan natin kung ano plano sa atin ng Diyos, siya naman nakakaalam. Pero sa akin naman kasi, happy pa ako as assistant and skills coach.”