Fuel Masters feeling the absence of JC Intal ahead of Governors Cup
Ariel Vanguardia says aside from scoring Phoenix misses JC Intal's leadership. Jerome Ascano 

PHOENIX is feeling the absence of JC Intal but coach Ariel Vanguardia is confident the imports should be able to make up for the scoring and get the other locals going.

The Fuel Masters bowed to Tropang TNT in a tuneup match, with the Phoenix reinforcements made a good account of themselves.

Marcus Simmons had a game-high 28 markers, while Lee Kwan Hee caught had 17 points, although Vanguardia noted aside from scoring, the team missed Intal’s leadership.  

[See Madanly, Little lift Tropang TNT past Phoenix but Tautuaa hurt in high-scoring tune-up]

"We really missed JC," said Vanguardia of his main man, who is nursing a bone spur in his right ankle.   

"Leadership tsaka scoring yung nawala dahil sa absence ni JC. Buti ngayon napupunan ng Korean at tsaka nung import," said Vanguardia, who replaced Koy Banal two months ago.

Vanguardia said his reinforcements fit the Phoenix system he described as “aggressive, run-and-gun,” with emphasis on defense. 

"They're two way players, okay sila both defensively and offensively. Gusto ko yung agressiveness nila, parehas defensive stopper," added Vanguardia, former JRU Bombers mentor and Malaysia Dragons coach in the ABL. 

While Intal is recovering from injury, Vanguardia hopes his wards will find their groove in time for the PBA Governors' Cup. 

"We already put the system in place. Kaunting polish na lang," he said.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros