BROTHERS Dave and Shaun Ildefenso were glad to reunite with former mentor Joe Silva in their first battle against each other in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament.
The sons of PBA legend Danny Ildefonso and former Blue Eaglets-turned-NU Bulldogs tormented former coach Silva’s UE Red Warriors and helped the Bulldogs cruise to a 91-58 win to end a five-game skid and finish the first round with a 2-5 win-loss record on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
But Dave and Shaun were happy to see their high school mentor who honed them and helped them get where they are right now.
“Siyempre, coach Joe. Nung warm up nga kami since first game, nung shootaround, nung warmup, gumaganun na ako. Sabi ko barilan kami. Bago pa mag-season napag-usapan namin na barilan daw kami pag nakaka-shoot ako ng three points,” said the rookie Ildefonso, who dropped 14 points on two three-pointers, seven rebounds, and six assists.
“It’s fun, tapos syempre weird din. ‘Yun nga sabi ni coach Jamike (Jarin), he was the enemy pero after the games, after everything, coach ko pa rin sya, friend ko pa rin siya, lalo na kasi nag-champion kami at saka three years din kami nagsama. Naging one of my mentors ko siya,” he added.
Shaun agreed with his younger brother.
“Si coach Joe, not just with me pati si utol ko, grabe ‘yung relationship namin diyan. We even won a championship with him with the Nieto brothers, with Jolo Mendoza and ‘yung others,” said the elder Ildefonso, who finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and a pair of assists. “Siyempre nakakapanibago, 'di ba? Pero sinabi sa amin ni coach Jamike you know, he’s a good friends of ours, he’s our guy, but today at the court we’re enemies, they’re the enemy pero after that we can be friends.”
Although he was disappointed with the Red Warriors’ loss that dropped them to 1-6, Silva was glad to see Shaun and Dave again, whom he won championships together in Season 77 and 80.
“With regards to the Ildefonso brothers, they’re really very decent, sobrang bait nila, together with Enzo Joson season and the former Blue Eaglets team sila ‘yung core ng season 77 and season 80 champs last year,” Silva said. “Mababait na bata yang mga yan. Again, wherever we are, whatever team we are in, we don’t forget each other we still communicate wih each other from time to time, talk about anything else aside from basketball. I consider them as family, mahal ko yang mga yan.”
The UE coach insisted that sky is the limit for his former players as they are in good hands with his former mentor Jarin and his coaching staff.
“I knew that they were going to make it this far naman. The good thing about it is I see that they’re improving and coach Jamike is there, coach Danny I and the rest of the NU coaching staff,” Silva said. “So sigurado akong they’re in good hands tsaka magagaling naman sila, they’re hardworkers talagang they’re smart players so sky is the limit for them.”
Their fates will always intertwine everytime National U and UE will clash inside the court but for the brothers it will always feel special everytime they play against their former mentor Silva.
“Nagyakapan lang kami parang sabi ko coach, ‘I miss you ganyan. Good luck sa next games,” Shaun said.
“Si coach Joe talaga, kahit tambak ng twenty, thirty o kaya up siya ng twenty, thirty, gusto nya pa ring makita sa players nya yung killer instinct,” Dave said, “‘Yun ‘yung lagi nyang sinasabi dati. Killer instinct. Since gusto naming mag-champion, dapat umasta kaming champion.”