MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Dave Ildefonso is headed back to Katipunan.
After two years in the Bulldogs' den with National University, the 19-year-old rising star returned to Ateneo as the newest member of Tab Baldwin's Blue Eagles, a team official confirmed.
On Monday night, January 13, Ildefonso himself confirmed the development on Twitter where he thanked NU and said that a part of his heart “will always belong to the Bulldogs and the NU supporters.”
But the young hotshot said he sees his return to Ateneo as the “best path” to continue his basketball journey.
This development reportedly started after his father and PBA legend Danny Ildefonso left the university and dropped his assistant head coach post in the wake of Goldwin Monteverde's big overhaul with the team away from the Jamike Jarin era.
As the younger Ildefonso now heads back to where his career kickstarted as a high school champion, he is now set to be a key cog in Baldwin's battle-tested, title-winning system.
Ateneo men's basketball team manager Epok Quimpo confirmed the development to Rappler on Sunday, January 12.
Ildefonso, though, won’t see action yet next season as he needs to serve residency as per league rules.
Although the former Batang Gilas star impressed with averages of 17.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in what turned out to be his final season last year as a Bulldog, the team failed to make any significant noise as it finished with a 2-12 record.
Conversely, the Blue Eagles are practically strangers to losing as it capped off a title three-peat finish with an unprecedented 16-0 sweep.
“I have made the decision to return to Ateneo to continue my basketball journey,” Ildefonso wrote on Twitter. “My biggest basketball dream has always been to represent the country in major international meets and I feel that this is the best path to that fulfillment of my dream.”
After two losing seasons, Dave is now set to continue Ateneo's dominant run in a way only an Ildefonso can.