MANILA, Philippines – Shaun Ildefonso, the son of PBA legend Danny Ildefonso has committed to play college basketball for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, he confirmed to Rappler on Monday, March 14.
Ildefonso just wrapped up his high school basketball career with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, whose UAAP Season 78 campaign ended with a loss to the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers in the Final Four round.
The 17-year-old forward was Ateneo High School’s third-leading scorer this past season (10.8 PPG), right behind Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac, both of whom have also committed to the Blue Eagles.
Ildefonso, whose father was a great rebounder in the pros, led the Blue Eaglets in rebounding in Season 78 with 6.9 a game and also averaged 44.3% shooting from the floor.
(READ: Jolo Mendoza embarks on new journey with Ateneo Blue Eagles)
“I’ve been practicing with the Blue Eagles already. So, yeah, I have no plan in leaving Ateneo. I commit to Ateneo,” he told Rappler via message.
The 6-foot-2 talent, who says he idolizes Alaska Aces star Vic Manuel, is enthusiastic about playing for Tab Baldwin, the head coach of the Philippine men’s national basketball team (Gilas Pilipinas). The 57-year-old American-Kiwi was named the head coach of Ateneo last December.
“Coach Tab is one helluva coach,” said Ildefonso, whose dad played college basketball for National University. “He always looks for the little things. He also teaches a lot of life lessons, and he makes sure that we understand every detail.”
Ildefonso joins Mendoza, Mamuyac, and Xavier High School standout Tyler Tio as this year’s talented batch of rookies joining the Blue Eagles, who finished in the Final Four of last year’s UAAP senior’s tournament.
“I’ll never get tired of playing with Mamu[yac] and Jolo,” Ildefonso said. “They’re awesome, in and out off the court. [We’re] brothers, teammates.”
Ildefonso will have to fight for minutes in his rookie season. Although reigning UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena and shooting expert Von Pessumal have graduated, the influx of talent Ateneo will add and bring back is significant.
Aside from the aforementioned rookies, the Blue Eagles are also expected to field former San Sebastian star player CJ Perez, who served his year of residency in 2015. After impressive rookie campaigns last season, Adrian Wong, Aaron Black, and Matt Nieto are also anticipated to have major roles for the team moving forward.
The 2014 UAAP Rookie of the Year Arvin Tolentino is also still going to see action for the squad, while Thirdy Ravena is expected to make his comeback.
With that in mind, Ildefonso is aware scoring may not be the assignment he will be asked to provide right away.
“Effort, hustle, and quality minutes,” he said. “Coming into the college level, I guess scoring won’t matter to me first. [I] just want to contribute as much as possible for the good of the team.”
Shaun’s dad enjoyed a 17-year PBA career that started after he was taken first overall in the PBA Draft of 1998 – a year where he was named PBA Rookie of the Year with San Miguel.
He finished his career with 8 championships, 8 PBA All-Star appearances, two Mythical First Team selections, two league MVP awards, and many more accomplishments.
Does the younger Ildefonso feel pressure being the son of one of the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players?
“Not really. [My dad’s] always saying that I don’t need to be pressured, because I’m the one who’s responsible for making my name.
“Another reason [for me] to not be pressured is that I know that he will always be there for me as a father, coach, and he will always be my number one critic.”
The next UAAP seniors season is expected to begin in September. – Rappler.com
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