Danny Ildefonso, who won two PBA Most Valuable Players and was instrumental in the San Miguel Beermen’s championship teams of the late-90’s and early-2000’s, announced his retirement after playing 17 pro seasons yesterday.
Ildefonso’s decision came after the Meralco Bolts opted not to renew his contract as the franchise underwent a rebuilding prowess with the selections of Chris Newsome and Baser Amer in the PBA Rookie Draft.
“Nag-usap na kami ng management and also si (Meralco) coach Norman Black. Sa akin naman, ok lang yun at nai-intindihan ko na nasa rebuilding period ang team,” Ildefonso said.
The Urdaneta, Pangasinan native also added that his children’s entry into sports have made it easier for him to call it quits.
His sons Shaun, 17, and Dave, 15, are both playing for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, daughter Sofia, 12, is a member of
Miriam College’s volleyball team while 9-year-old twins Sym and Sam are into swimming.
“Sila talaga ang reason kaya naisip ko mag-retire, naglalaro na sila so gusto ko sila matutukan,” said Ildefonso, whose sons Shaun (17) and Dave (15) are both playing for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets.
After an amateur career with National University in the UAAP and Agfa in the now-defunct Philippine Basketball
League, Ildefonso was chosen as the top overall pick by Formula Shell in the 1998 Draft before being traded to San
Miguel for No. 2 pick Noy Castillo. (Waylon Galvez)
The 6-foot-6 Ildefonso played 15 seasons with the Beermen where he popularized the “Raise the Roof” gesture after executing a dunk. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1998 before winning eight championships, most of which were won with Danny Seigle, Olsen Racela and coach Jong Uichico.
It was also during his time with SMB that he won every professional player’s dream – the MVP award. He was the league’s best player in 2000 and 2001, at the time when the Beermen were the league’s model franchise.
Ildefonso’s stint with San Miguel ended in 2013 when his contract expired. He was immediately obtained by Meralco where he played limited for two seasons.
“Happy na din ako nakapag-laro ako ng 17 years sa liga, sobrang napaka-laking blessing para ako maka-tungtong ang umabot ng 17 years. Masaya ako at happy ako sa decision ko,” said Ildefonso.
Ildefonso ended his career with averages of 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 714 games.