MANILA, Philippines – Dave Ildefonso is no stranger to being around the pillars of Philippine basketball.
Having a PBA legend for a father, Dave had the privilege of learning hoops skills from some of the country’s all-time best players, including current FEU Tamaraws head coach and all-time great guard Olsen Racela.
Fast forward to the present, and Dave has made the most of his chances to show off his improvement to his ninong (godfather) Olsen, who teamed up with his dad Danny in numerous championship-winning teams for San Miguel Beer.
Just recently in the NU Bulldogs’ season-sweeping 85-79 overtime win against FEU, Dave tallied 27 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists, filling up highlight reels with twisting layups and long-range bombs.
After the game, the 6-foot-3 rising star admitted whom he is trying to model his game after.
“Sabi lagi sa akin ni tatay palagi na kung may gusto kang i-look up na point guard, i-look up ko si ninong Olsen,” he said. “Sa prime ni tatay, kaya siya nakakakuha ng points dahil sa playmaking at IQ ni ninong Olsen.”
(Dad always tells me that if there’s a man I should look up to as a point guard, I should look up to ninong Olsen. In dad’s prime, he was getting his points because of the playmaking and IQ of ninong Olsen.)
As if having hoops legends for a dad and godfather wasn’t good enough, Dave also feels lucky to have another ninong help diversify his skillset: eight-time PBA champion Danny Seigle.
“Buti na lang. naging ninong ko si ninong Olsen at ninong Seigle kasi may mag-guide sa akin as point guard, may mag-guide sa akin na wingman,” said Dave. “Blessed ako na ninong ko [sila] at nandiyan [sila] palagi para magbigay ng guidance.”
(Thankfully, I have ninong Olsen and ninong Seigle because I have someone to guide me as a point guard and wingman. I’m blessed that they’re my godfathers and they’re always there to give me guidance.)
Clearly, such elite mentorship has worked wonders for Dave, who is currently averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals in just his second year.
Even ninong “Rahrah” has a hard time believing how far his godchild has progressed in such a short time.
“I don’t believe his game is still young. He's a mature player. He sees the game differently,” Racela said. “He's not [like] a sophomore anymore. I was talking about decision-making, he makes the right decisions in the court.”
“Noong maliit pa yan? Hindi. Laro-laro lang mga ‘yan e. Iniwan ko na sa tatay ‘yun. I'd like to think na nakatulong ako sa galing niya, pero iba yung genes talaga ng Ildefonso eh.”
(When he was little? Nothing, he was just playing along. I already left him with his dad. I’d like to think that I helped in his growth, but the Ildefonso genes are really something else.)
With the Bulldogs lagging behind at just 2-7 for the season, Dave Ildefonso clearly remains as the team’s best hope for a better future.
“He’s acting like a seasoned player and this is only his second year,” Racela continued. “Imagine what else he can do in the years to come.” – Rappler.com