Thursday, February 12, 2009
1st overall pick by Shell in 1998 rookie draft. One of the league’s best men, have a good shooting percentage.
Name: Danny Ildefonso
Jersey Number: 10
Team: San Miguel
Birthplace: Urdaneta, Pangasinan
Height: 6'6" Weight: 210 lbs.
Draft(Year): 1st overall by Shell (1998)
College/University: National University
Monicker/Nick: The Demolition Man
Is a Filipino professional basketball player for the San Miguel Beermen in the Philippine Basketball Association. Nicknamed Danny I and The Demolition Man, Ildefonso is a two-time PBA Most Valuable Player in 2000 and 2001. He played amateur basketball for the National University Bulldogs in the UAAP and for AGFA in the Philippine Basketball League and a member of the Philippine national basketball team on separate occasions.
Ildefonso was discovered after suiting up for his native Pangasinan in the Palarong Pambansa. He played for the NU Bulldogs in the UAAP, teaming up with fellow Pangasinense and later-AGFA and San Miguel teammate Lordy Tugade, leading the Bulldogs to respectable finishes in the UAAP. He later played for AGFA in the Philippine Basketball League but had a difficult time leading the Photokina franchise to the title, losing to Tanduay in championship matches.He was regarded as the second-best big man of his class behind Rommel Adducul,and was highly sought after by then-SMB coach Ron Jacobs after seeing the potential in his rail-thin frame.The tremendous potential seen in his combination of youth,footwork,leaping ability and work ethic as shown by him bulking up after only two seasons in the PBA were enough to convince San MIguel to trade their number two pick,Noy Castillo,and cash for the No.1 pick Ildefonso. Ildefonso was also nvolved in some controversy after signing with the now-defunct Pangasinan Presidents of the MBA,having a live contract with AGFA and at the same time being selected in the draft.San Miguel had to buy out all his contractual obligations for him to suit up with the Beermen.
Ildefonso led the Philippines to a gold-medal in 1997 Southeast Asian Games alongside Rommel Adducul and Ralph Rivera.
After a successful amateur carer, Danny Ildefonso applied for the PBA draft despite being underage. This prompted the PBA to change their age limit rules, enraging the PBL. Even as Ildefonso entered the draft, he also signed a contract to play for the Pangasinan Presidents of the newly-formed Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Ildefonso was eventually drafted first-pick overall by Formula Shell in the 1998 PBA Draft, but was traded to San Miguel for the Beermen's second overall pick, Noy Castillo, and cash. The SMC franchise wanted the promising youngster in their ranks to be the future cornerstone of the team and this forced them to buy out his MBA contract.
In his rookie season, Ildefonso became one of the key players for the Beermen alongside Nelson Asaytono, leading the Beermen to two runner-up finish in the All-Filipino and Commissioners Cup, losing to Alaska on both occasions. At season's end, he won the Rookie of the Year honors averaging 11.6 PPG in 74 Games which leads All Rookies in 1998.
The next season, with the departure of Asaytono and the arrival of Filipino-American rookie Danny Seigle and the performances of imports Terquin Mott and Lamont Strothers, San Miguel won two titles in the 1999 Commissioner's Cup and Governor's Cup, ending a five-year title drought.
Back-to-Back MVP Awards
In 2000, Ildefonso and Seigle would again lead San Miguel to two titles, retaining the Commissioners and Governors Cup championships. Ildefonso won the two of the five straight Best Player of the Conference honors and defeated Seigle to win the Most Valuable Player Awards.
In 2001, San Miguel defeated sister team Barangay Ginebra Kings, 4-2 to win the All-Filipino Cup. Despite two losses to Red Bull and Sta Lucia in the Commissioners Cup and Governors Cup finals series, Ildefonso went on to sweep the Best Player of the Conference honors and won his second Most Valuable Player Award, joining Bogs Adornado and Alvin Patrimonio as the only players to win the said award on back-to-back seasons. He also won the All-Star Game MVP honors for the victorious Veterans team. Danny Ildefonso is one of the rare players to have won all three major MVP awards in the league:regular season, finals,and all-star game MVP.
In 2002, Ildefonso temporary left San Miguel to join the Philippine National Training Pool in the preparation for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan. Ildefonso went on to join the team for the event but struggled throughout the Asiad, mainly due to his role of playing small forward, instead of his natural position of power forward. The Nationals ended up in fourth place after losing a heartbreaking semis matchup against South Korea. Ildefonso returned to the Beermen in the All-Filipino Cup but the Beermen placed only third in the said tournament.
Ildefonso would play inconsistent games as well as missing several games due to injuries in the 2003 season and the early parts of the 2004-05 season.
2005 Fiesta Conference Finals MVP
During the 2005 Fiesta Conference, the Beermen made it to the semifinals against Red Bull. Ildefonso played one of his best games of the tournament, and hit numerous clutch shots in the tournament, including a series-clinching game-winning fade away over the outstretched arms of Red Bull import Earl Barron to lead San Miguel to the finals against the Talk N' Text Phone Pals.
In the championship series, Ildefonso again played another impressive performance for San Miguel, leading them to their first title since 2001 defeating the Phone Pals, 4-1. During the series, Ildefonso made a game-winning layup in game 2 against Asi Taulava and in Game 5, a running jumper that put San Miguel in the lead for good to clinch the series. Ildefonso was named Finals MVP, tying Danny Seigle with four.
Ildefonso is playing a back-up role for San Miguel, now under Siot Tanquincen putting up decent numbers for a team now led by Seigle. Magnolia usually minimizes his minutes to rest him for the semis, where he usually plays his best basketball, since he already has numerous injuries in his knee. In the 2007 PBA All Filipino Cup Danny Ildefonso is averaging 10.2 Points and 6.5 Rebounds in 13 Games in the Elimination Round.
Ildefonso was fined 5,000 pesos by the league after two technical fouls during Game 3 of the 2006-07 Philippine Cup semis. After a first technical foul after a verbal exchange with Mick Pennisi, he was ejected in the fourth quarter during a face-to-face verbal exchange with Enrico Villanueva.
Ildefonso's early struggles with poverty during his younger years living on a farm with his parents and his rise from being a mediocre college player to becoming a college and amateur league superstar and eventually becoming the no.1 draft pick and the youngest player ever drafted in the PBA was shown on "Maalaala Mo Kaya" on ABS-CBN in 2004. Versatile actor Victor Neri portrayed him.