BARAKO Bull swingman JC Intal knows the transition from just trying to outscore their opponents to a defensive-oriented side under new coach Siot Tanquingcen requires a lot of time and hardwork.
Since Tanquingcen took over the coaching reins from Bong Ramos, Intal said Barako Bull immediately started to work on its defensive drills to show a new facet to its game in the PBA Governors Cup.
“Ine-emphasize niya (Tanquingcen) ang defense namin most of the time sa practice,” said Intal, a day before Barako Bull's match against Air21 on Saturday.
While the Energy are working also on improving their offensive flow with import Eric Wise, there’s no doubt Tanquingcen is banking on defense to lift the team from the lower tier of the 10-team league.
“Majority sa ine-ensayo namin eh sa pick and rolls. Ang offense namin motion, motion talaga kami, pero defense talaga ang bagong identity ng Barako Bull,” he added.
As part of the changes under Tanquingcen, Barako Bull has been relying less on its veteran players during crunch time while giving its young players a chance to prove themselves.
Rookie guards Jeric Fortuna and Carlo Lastimosa are starting to get the confidence of Tanquingcen, while Dave Marcelo has also been getting the lion’s share of minutes at the frontline after averaging 12 rebounds in the team’s first two games.
Intal, who averages 7.0 points and 9.0 rebounds, said veterans like him have been tasked by Tanquingcen to serve as mentors to their younger players in order to fast-track their development.
“Maganda naman pinapakita ng mga rookies, of course, nandiyan kaming mga veterans to guide them,” noted Intal, Air21’s fourth overall pick in the 2007 PBA draft.
Barako Bull, which opened the conference with a 95-94 victory over Meralco, dropped a 66-76 decision to grand slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee last Wednesday.