Danny Ildefonso is no longer the same explosive center that made him the PBA’s back-to-back PBA Most Valuable Player awardee (2000 and 2001).
But even at age 35, Ildefonso continues to attract double-team simply because he can be a threat at any given play.
He’s one of the pro league’s few good passing big men actively playing right now. He also possesses a decent touch from the perimeter. Plus, he can post up and score the two-ball if he sees a mismatch or an opportunity.
All these are now second-nature for Ildefonso who has been in the pro league since 1998, the year Formula Shell selected him as the top overall pick in the annual draft, before trading him on draft day to San Miguel Beer in exchange for Noy Castillo.
Ildefonso’s arrival in San Miguel Beer (Petron’s old PBA name) signaled the beginning of a championship journey he had with the team.
His willingness to learn and to continue reinventing himself has made him one of the league’s most durable centers. To date, he is on the way to his 15th PBA season and now part of his impressive PBA resume are the eight PBA championships he won with San Miguel/ Petron, two MVP trophies, five Best Player of the Conferences trophies, two PBA Finals MVPs and his latest, the 2010-2011 Comeback Player of the Year awardee.
In all these accolades that easily earns him a place among the elite great players the PBA has ever produced, Ildefonso remains humble, as he gives credit to God for all his accomplishments in the pro league.
“Nung pumasok ako actually sa PBA, ang iniisip ko nun, maka-10 years lang ako, ayos na, masaya na ako. Di ko akalain na halos mag-15 years na ako ngayon sa PBA, and still naglalaro pa rin ako,” Ildefonso shared to me in our recent talk.
Ildefonso said he’s really blessed to have people in church (he attends Victory Ortigas in Robinsons’ Galleria with his wife Ren and five kids) who continues to encourage him, pray for him and stand with him through the joys and challenges of his 15-season PBA career.
“Sana nga bro, makalaro pa ako ng mas matagal and makatulong sa team na mag-champion pa. Di na naman mahalaga sa akin kung di na ako nag start sa team, basta ang importante sa akin makatulong pa rin naman ako, quality minutes every time pinapasok ako sa laro,” added the Urdaneta, Pangasinan native.
In the midst of his busy PBA schedule of getting back into shape and trying to help Petron win more championships, Ildefonso shares he doesn’t miss the time to be with his wife and be there to support his kids in sports (basketball for his first two boys) and swimming for his middle child Sophia.
For Ildefonso, he’s non-negotiable priorities are: God, family and career/ business.