MANILA, Philippines – After winning a UAAP juniors championship together, former Ateneo Blue Eaglets Dave Ildefonso and SJ Belangel now don different jerseys.
But Ildefonso, the National University (NU) Bulldogs’ emerging rookie sensation, and Belangel, who’s seeing action for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, said there are no hard feelings between them even after facing against each other on court.
“We still treat each other like friends but on the court we’re opponents,” said Belangel who chipped in 5 points in 12.5 minutes of play against NU on Saturday, September 22.
“Kung sa akin napunta si SJ, ‘di siya makashoot nang ganoon. Joke lang,” quipped Ildefonso, who chose to join his father and NU assistant coach Danny Ildefonso and brother Shaun in the Bulldogs squad after graduating from Ateneo High School.
(If SJ was matched up with me, he wouldn’t be able to shoot 5 points. Just kidding.)
Despite playing against each other for spot minutes, Belangel added that the experience reminded him also of their junior days together.
“Parang normal pa rin [for us to play against each other] kasi every time magpractice kami noong juniors, so magkalaban kami palagi,” said the Blue Eagle rookie.
(It was normal for us to play against each other because during our junior days, we were always opponents during practice.)
It was the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles who emerged victorious on Wednesday’s game as they successfully limited Ildefonso, who has become NU’s leading scorer.
“Every time kukuha ako ng bola, na-feel ko [naka-clog] yung defense sa akin sa loob and wala rin ako magawa but tira ako ng shots sa labas, or just release the ball quick,” said Ildefonso on the defensive effort Ateneo threw at him.
(Every time I get the ball, I feel that the defense is clogging on me at the paint and I couldn’t do anything but take my shots outside or release the ball quickly.)
But the former Blue Eaglets are ready for more challenges ahead. After all, both have clearly kept their winning drive despite taking different paths in their collegiate basketball careers. – Rappler.com