EVEN Phoenix’s resident star JC Intal is puzzled on what ails the team as its PBA Philippine Cup campaign has suddenly gone haywire.
The Fuel Masters absorbed a 117-98 beating at the hands of TNT Katropa Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, marking the second straight game in a week’s time they were blown off the court.
Counting their 123-79 rout against Star, Phoenix has actually lost its last two games by an average of 31.5 points.
Intal was at a loss following the setback that dropped the team to a 2-3 (win-loss) mark.
“I don’t know what’s happening talaga,” he said. “Masakit kasi para kaming hindi pro basketball team, 30 points (average losing margin) imagine.”
“Right now, obviously down yung team.”
Intal finished with 11 points and three rebounds in the loss that saw the Fuel Masters get outrebounded, 51-35, and had far lesser assists than TNT, 24-13.
The discrepancy in numbers wasn't lost on the veteran wingman out of Ateneo.
“Talo kami sa rebounds, assist namin 13 lang. Nananalo kami pag nag 20 assists kami at pag panalo kami sa rebounds,” he noted.
Coach Ariel Vanguardia was hard on Phoenix’s ‘bigs’ following the setback, but Intal said it’s the entire team that should take the blame for the loss.
“For me hindi lang yung ‘bigs’ kasi. Lima kaming naglalaro sa loob e,” said the33-year-old Intal.
But nobody can sort things out but the Fuel Masters themselves. And this is the perfect time for the team to stay strong together, according to Intal.
“We’ll continue building our chemistry, kasi wala naman kaming magagawa kundi ang magtulungan. Aasa kami sa isa’t-isa talaga,” he said.
With still six games remaining, Intal said it's not yet late for the Fuel Masters, who have a few days to prepare for their next game against Meralco on Wednesday.