MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University coach Tab Baldwin has apologized for the comments he made regarding Dave Ildefonso's decision to play collegiate basketball for National University (NU), instead of committing to the Blue Eagles.
A star for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets when he was in high school, Ildefonso opted to play for the Bulldogs where he joined his father, the legendary Danny Ildefonso, and older brother Shaun.
His decision apparently did not sit well with Baldwin, who made the following statement following Ateneo's game against NU last Saturday: "I think that we wanted Dave to rethink that decision or perhaps in hindsight, wonder why he made that decision."
The Blue Eagles crushed the Bulldogs, 72-46, with Ildefonso limited to four points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field.
Baldwin's comments were not taken well by NU, and the Ateneo coach eventually apologized.
"In the NU post-game press conference, I made reference to Dave Ildefonso and his decision to attend NU rather than Ateneo in discussing the recruitment process which we all go through at the university level," Baldwin said in a statement on Monday.
"In hindsight, my reference to Dave and his decision was entirely unnecessary," he admitted.
Baldwin said he merely intended to "highlight the competitive nature of recruiting," but meant no disrespect to the player, the Ildefonso family, or NU.
"I offer my sincerest apologies," he added.
The young Ildefonso had previously explained that his desire to gain immediate exposure led to his commitment to NU.
"Yung nakita ko sa Ateneo, it's a stacked line-up," Ildefonso said in an interview with ABS-CBN Sports ahead of the UAAP Season 81 tournament.
"Naisip ko na I won't be able to play, have a lot of minutes after two years, so pinag-isipan ko na I really need the exposure and siguro I didn't want to get that exposure from playing Team B."
"I really didn't want that. Sa tingin ko, I didn't really want to become a bench player," he admitted.
Ildefonso is currently averaging 13.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game while playing over 26 minutes per contest for the Bulldogs.
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