AS special as Dave Ildefonso's first game against his old school National University was, he stressed that he really didn't need any motivation to play well.
"Extra motivation? No, cause I never really need it," the former Bulldog turned Ateneo starter said on Tuesday. "As a player, that's what I strive to be. I want to be a player who doesn’t need motivation."
Ildefonso proved a thorn in the side of NU as he led Ateneo in its 74-64 victory, scoring 14 points including a clutch basket near the end as the Blue Eagles won their fifth straight in UAAP Season 84.
While Ateneo won its 31st consecutive match since 2018, Dave was also happy to see his former squad give the defending champions their toughest battle this season.
The fact that he did that against kuya Shaun and dad Danny still in blue-and-gold was just a bonus.
"I was really excited to play NU because I want to see how they were this year, and I’m really happy for them. They have a great system this year and they’re in really good hands with coach Jeff [Napa]," he said.
It was also the first time that the Ildefonso brothers faced off against each other in the seniors' division and it was obvious they enjoyed the experience.
"It was fun facing him. He’s a much more physically gifted athlete than I am and it was really hard guarding him especially when he was going downhill, but I tried to sag on him a bit more because he has no shot," he said laughing.
Dave stressed that their lifelong bond allowed him to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Shaun, and the reason why the older Ildefonso was held to just five points, three rebounds, and two assists in the affair.
"That’s in my scouting report cause I really know his weaknesses," he said with a big grin.
"And some of the guys there, I played with them so long so I kind of know their strengths and weaknesses so I tried to help. Sadly it didn’t work out as well, but we got the win."
For his part, Shaun said the brave stand against the three-time champions should give the Bulldogs the respect they deserve.
"Hopefully makita yun ng tao and they put respect on NU," he said.
With the dust settled, the brothers can go back to being brothers.
"Pagkatapos ng laro, di naman namin nakakalimutan na magkapatid naman kami. Pero kanina, I treated him na kalaban," he said. "Sobrang masarap lang sa feeling na finally nakalaban ko siya at I'm sure na mas happy ang tatay ko. It really was a joy playing against him."