As Ateneo's new big man's coach, Danny Ildefonso in position to aid Kai Sotto development
Danny Ildefonso gives out instructions from the sidelines during the Ateneo Blue Eaglets' debut in the Filoil Preseason Cup on Saturday. Dante Peralta

DANNY Ildefonso has joined the Ateneo juniors basketball team coaching staff 'by accident' as a big man's coach.

The two-time PBA MVP said he has been joining practices of the Blue Eaglets for a week now in his first foray into the coaching profession after retiring in the pro league as one of its '40 Greatest Players.'

Ildefonso has been a regular fixture in the Blue Eaglets' practices in recent years to support sons Shaun and Dave, but was only convinced to take on the coaching job after one of the players, Sack Salazar, said he chose to play for Ateneo because of him.

“Everyday kasi ako nasa Ateneo,” Ildefonso related. “Tapos tinuturuan ko na rin ‘yung anak ko. ‘Yung Salazar kasi ‘yun ang reason kung bakit siya pumunta sa Ateneo. Eh nakapangako na ako sa parents. Hindi na rin naman ako naglalaro kaya napunta ako sa juniors.”

“Okay naman ako sa mga coaches. Masaya ako sa mga bata,” said Ildefonso.

Interestingly, Ildefonso’s entry into the Blue Eaglets' coaching staff came just before the teamorecruited Kai Sotto, giving him the opportunity to help in the development of the 6-9, 13-year-old prodigy.

Ildefonso said he is happy to be able to share his knowledge of the game.

“Masarap magturo kasi future sila ng basketball. Mabanggit lang ‘yung pangalan mo, okay na ‘yun,” said Ildefonso.

Ildefonso was at the back of the bench when Ateneo played in its first game in the Filoil preseason tournament on Saturday, losing to NCAA powerhouse San Beda.

He liked what he saw.

“So far, maganda naman kasi nakita ko ‘yung laro nila sa San Beda, mga beterano, pero nakasabay naman sila,” Ildefonso said.

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