SHAUN Ildefonso believed leaving 'the best' college basketball program of Ateneo to play for National University is the best step to reach his potential, especially as he now avoids a logjam at the wing spot in the Blue Eagles roster.
Ildefonso said a big reason for his transfer was glut of players who play his position at Ateneo. He added moving to the Bulldogs will allow him to excel especially with his father, PBA great Danny, being part of the coaching staff.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I just don't see myself excelling and reaching my maximum potential with Ateneo," said Ildefonso. "There are a lot of good players na ka-position ko. Siguro I just don't fit in the system."
After spending the latter years of his high school basketball career at Ateneo, the 6-foot-2 forward recently debuted in a number of games for NU during their campaign in the UCBL preseason invitational tournament.
But before he makes his UAAP debut with the Bulldogs, Ildefonso will have to take a one-year residency.
Ildefonso, however, made it clear that his father has already indicated that he will have to earn his minutes with the Bulldogs - a challenge that he wholeheartedly accepts.
"Sabi niya sa akin, hindi sure na magkaka-playing time ako. You need to work hard for it. Kailangan mo mag-trabaho. Kilala naman niya ako na I'm a hardworker. I just love getting better. Max out ko 'yung one year ko. Lagi nga kaming nag-eextra after practice. I'm always the one who leaves last sa practice," said the younger Ildefonso.
Despite leaving Ateneo, the 20-year-old Shaun said the Blue Eagles will always have a special place in his heart, describing the school's basketball program as the best.
"I'm not saying that Ateneo doesn't have a nice basketball program. For me, it's the best. I just really feel that I'm going to reach my maximum potential with NU," said Shaun.
Shaun had decent games for the Bulldogs during their stint in the UCBL, putting in one game where he nearly notched a double-double. Still, he recognizes that there is a lot of work to do to master the NU system.
"I'm getting there," said Ildefonso. "I'm comfortable with the other guys. I think it's not going to be a smooth ride but I'm going to work my butt off to help what I can give. I have a one-year residency. I'm going to work on my weaknesses."
Bulking up and adjusting to playing in the small forward position again are some of the things that Ildefonso is working on in this offseason.
"I've been working out kasi gusto ko talaga magpalaki ng katawan. In high school. 4, 5 ako pero nung nasa Lourdes High School ako, I used to play 3 talaga. So magiging madali na lang," said Ildefonso.