Meralco to Danny I: Let’s Bolt in
by Waylon Galvez
Manila, Philippines – Meralco, a team in need of help at the frontline spot, finally decided to add veteran center Danny Ildefonso – a former two-time PBA MVP – signing him last Thursday to a one-conference contract in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup.
Bolts head coach Ryan Gregorio relayed the news yesterday about Ildefonso’s signing after weeks of thought. A free agent when he was released by Petron Blaze, Ildefonso was added to the roster after Kerby Raymundo opted to have a knee surgery.
The 6-foot-6 Raymundo was obtained in a trade with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for JayR Reyes, although he decided not sign a contract with the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned team due to his injury, which makes him an unrestricted free agent.
“We signed Danny I until the end of the conference,” said Gregorio, who had Ildefonso on board last Dec. 26 when Meralco had a practice session.
“His presence will give us more ceiling and maturity. I honestly believe that DI has what it takes to compete at a high level in the PBA. He has been aching for teams to give him a venue to display what he has and we are more than willing to provide him with the platform.”
“He has a championship experience and high basketball intelligence, things that you cannot teach as a basketball coach but you learn through times as basketball player. With DI on board, he gives us positive perspective on how to win games whether he plays or just being on the bench. He will definitely improve our locker room atmosphere just by his mere positive attitude,” added Gregorio.
Ildefonso, 37, played his first 15 years in the PBA with Petron (formerly San Miguel Beer/Magnolia), although last season – the final year of his contract – saw him with limited playing time. His career averages are close to 11 points and eight rebounds per game. He will join a Meralco frontline that includes fellow veterans Reynel Hugnatan, Rabah Al-Hussaini and Don Allado.