ANTIPOLO – JC Intal insisted he wasn’t trying to make a statement with his performance for Phoenix in the 92-85 upset of San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night.
Relegated to an off-the-bench role, the athletic forward responded by putting up a game-high 22 points, including five straight the sealed the deal down the stretch for the Fuel Masters.
But Intal said he wasn’t trying to make a point, saying he respects coach Ariel Vanguardia’s decision.
“Hindi naman,” Intal said. “Syempre, lahat ng players gusto mag-start, but na kay coach Ariel yun kung i-start niya ako o hindi.”
“It’s a team game,” the former Gilas member added, although admitting he’s more comfortable in a starting role. “Sayang, mas komportable ako mag-start, pero kung hindi ako mag-start, okay lang rin. At least nakikita ko yung flow nung game (from the bench).”
Vanguardia admitted he chose to field Intal from the bench after seeing overeagerness get the better of the player in their loss to Blackwater where he still had 12 points.
“We had him off the bench, mawala yung gigil niya,” Vanguardia admitted, revealing that Intal, after knowing he’d been moved to the bench, even came to one of the Phoenix assistant coaches to remind them he had been a starter since his Barako Bull days.
“Hindi naman nag-complain,” Vanguardia was quick to point out. “Pero sinabi naman namin na dahil hindi ka starter, hindi ka maglalaro ng major minutes.
“He was up to it, the challenge was there, and he responded to it,” he added. “He’s a professional. He’s considered the franchise player of this team.”