Inspiration & Sports

Danny Ildefonso’s Inspiring Play, Reminiscent of Willis Reed

Seven minutes. That’s the number of playing time Danny Ildefonso had during his first game back since he dislocated his right shoulder in Petron Blaze’s game versus sister team Barangay Ginebra about a month ago.

But those seven minutes, Petron coach Olsen Racela said, were enough to bring the “boost” for the Boosters in pulingl away from an otherwise tight contest against first round tormentor Rain or Shine.

From a one-point halftime lead, the Boosters stepped on the gas, shot like crazy in the third quarter, while holding off Elasto Painters to just 12 points, as opposed to the Boosters’ 33.

Petron eventually won the game, 96-86, to end its three-game losing skid and put life to its seemingly sagging campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Racela said of his former teammate with San Miguel Beer/Petron: “Danny wasn’t supposed to play. Alam niyang kulang kami, but the true professional that he is and the true friend that he is, tumulong siya sa akin.

“Even though he had dislocated shoulder, siya pa unang nag-dive sa bola, which motivated the team. Malaking bagay yun.”

That’s Danny at his best.  A true professional player. No qualms. No complaints. Just pure passion for the game and dedication to the team, which he has helped win numerous PBA championships since joining the ball club in 1998.

Wilt Chamberlain (top) of the LA Lakers and Willis Reed (below) of the New York Knicks during of their numerous battles on the court

Danny’s seven-minute act reminded me of NBA legend Willie Reed, whose unexpected play in a critical Game 7 Finals match against the Los Angeles Lakers fired by the New York Knicks on May 8, 1970.

Coming out to play despite a badly injured thigh that prevented him from playing in Game 6, the 6’9” Reed made his first two shots, his only baskets in a noisy Madison Square Garden that galvanized the Knicks’ spirits en route to helping the franchise win its first-ever NBA championship.

It may just be an elimination round game, but perhaps, Danny Ildefonso’s seven-minute appearance may just be the moment Petron needs to turn around what had been a turbulent conference in the PBA’s 38th Season.

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