New leader of the band

August 12, 2020

PHOENIX Pulse top gun Matthew Wright intends to step forward, assume the responsibility of being a leader and push his teammates harder once the PBA play resumes.

JC Intal, meanwhile, promises to throw full support to Wright, hoping the team can improve and compete with the best of them at the league restart.

"I was talking to Matthew via Zoom a few weeks back. He told me after watching the Last Dance twice or thrice that he's very eager to return to practice. He told me he won't be nice to his teammates. He's ready to push his teammates, especially the younger guys," said Intal in the recent episode of  Beyond the Game with The Dean webcast.

As the most senior player now at Phoenix at 36 years old, Intal promises to be behind Matthew, 100 percent.

"I told him as long as I'm here, I'm gonna support him. Ako na ang pinakamatanda eh. Iniwan na kami ni Doug (Kramer)," said Intal.

Kramer, 37, will no longer be around as he's decided to retire after the last season.

Intal and Kramer are close buddies from their days at Ateneo where they're teammates all through five years of their collegiate careers.

Before the pandemic put sporting actions into a complete stop, the Fuel Masters were eager to come out, excited with their lineup tweaked by trade deals and free agent acquisitions.

At the start of the COVID-interrupted Season 45, coach Louie Alas had a roster also featuring Justin Chua, Jason Perkins, RJ Jazul, Alex Mallari, Sol Mercado, Dave Marcelo, Brian Heruela, Jake Pascual, RR Garcia, Davon Potts, JayR Reyes, Michael Gamboa and Jorey Napoles.

Of course, they're hoping Calvin Abueva's indefinite suspension is lifted soon.

Intal has high hopes.

"Very, very competitive," he said of how he sees their team.

Last season, the Fuel Masters had a breakthrough top finish in the Philippine Cup elims. The great ride ended in a loss to eventual champion San Miguel Beer in the Final Four. (SB, PBA Website))