Basketball fans rejoiced as Danny Ildefonso made a comeback to the PBA after retiring in 2015. Ildefonso played for Converge in the PBA Governors’ Cup, facing Meralco.
Although he only played for four minutes, it was apparent that the 46-year-old was far from game shape. “You see that my body still has a delayed reaction,” Ildefonso said.
The two-time Most Valuable Player did not reveal what prompted him to make a comeback, but he said he hopes to improve as the conference continues. He has the full backing of his family, especially his son Shaun, who is a rookie at Rain or Shine.
Ildefonso replaced Barkley Ebona at the 8:51 mark of the first period when Meralco was leading 7-2. Although he was only in the game briefly, he managed to have a rebound and a turnover. Unfortunately, Converge lost the game 132-129 in overtime, spoiling Ildefonso’s comeback.
Meralco head coach Norman Black said that the cooler heads prevailed during an altercation between Allein Maliksi and Barkley Ebona. Maliksi was assessed with an F2 infraction that led to an outright ejection while Ebona got called for an F1. Despite this, Meralco managed to hang on to their lead and win the game.
Meralco’s KJ McDaniels finished with 33 points and 12 rebounds, while Aaron Black reset his career-high to 28 points alongside eight boards and five assists. Cliff Hodge had 18 points, Raymond Almazan tallied a conference-high 16 points, and Bong Quinto made 12 markers in the win. Maliksi also scored 12 before the ejection, including the go-ahead triple for a 130-128 lead with only 34 seconds left in the game.
Despite the loss, Converge’s Jamaal Franklin led the team with an impressive 57 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. It was likely the only 50-point triple-double in PBA history.
Ildefonso hopes to improve his game as the conference continues, and basketball fans are eager to see more of him on the court. “It’s different being in practice and being on the court playing. It really is. We’ll see in this next two to three weeks if I can be in shape,” he said.