Now fully recovered from a foot injury that sidelined him for a great deal late last season JC Intal has flashed his old, deadly form to lead resurgent Phoenix to back-to-back victories last week.
Nicknamed “Baby Rocket”, Intal banged in five of his team-high 22 points in the final 60 seconds to help Phoenix complete a shock 92-85 win over defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer in Antipolo last week.
Four days later, the 6-foot-4 Intal sustained his fiery offensive after knocking down 24, while grabbing seven rebounds as the Fuel Masters cruised past winless Mahindra Floodbuster, 114-104.
The 33-year-old Intal averaged 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in both victories to earn the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of November 29 to December 4, beating the likes of GlobalPort’s backcourt duo of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, Meralco’s Chris Newsome, TNT’s Jayson Castro and Moala Tautuaa as well as Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar.
“I’m happy that JC has fully recover ed from his bone spur injury (on his foot) that sidelined him for almost the whole third conference,” Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia said, as his team currently is tied TNT, San Miguel, Blackwater and Rain or Shine for second to fifth spots in the standings with similar 2-1 cards.
Vanguardia considered the high-flying Phoenix wingman the team’s franchise player, who continues to display sponge-like attitude despite his veteran status.
“We didn’t really have much time yet together kaya this preseason was getting to know pa din on how he will fit in the system,” shared Vanguardia, now in his second conference as coach of the Fuel Masters.
“He is one of the hardest working players I’ve coached and even though he is considered our franchise player, he is willing to learn and very coachable,” he added.
Intal is just one of the few remaining veterans at Phoenix, along with Willy Wilson, former Ateneo teammate Doug Kramer and Cyrus Baguio.
Phoenix will be shooting for its third straight win this coming Friday when it faces the Star Hotshots (0-2).