With new coach Ariel Vanguardia slowly introducing the dribble-drive system into Phoenix, veteran wingman JC Intal admitted that training sessions the past weeks required everyone to shoot a lot of baskets as they prepare for the PBA Governors Cup.
The 6-foot-3 Intal said the system switch though looks good for the team, which now has a mixture of veterans and young talents following the Fuel Masters’ player transactions last month.
“Everything has been good,” Intal told FOX Sports after practice. “It is almost 3 weeks since we started with coach Ariel and his staff and we’ve been doing a lot of shooting, as in a lot.”
The former Ateneo forward felt the team is really blessed to learn from former Sacramento Kings assistant coach Vance Walberg for the past week.
The 56-year-old Walberg, inventor of the dribble-drive system currently being used by Gilas Pilipinas, is in town to help the Fuel Masters learn the intricacies of the offense.
“He (Walberg) is slowly introducing the dribble-drive offense to the team,” explained the 32-year-old Intal, nicknamed “Baby Rocket”.
“We also feel honored to be trained by coach Vance Walberg for 1 whole week. We’ve been doing twice-a day-training since last Monday.”
Walbert, who also previously coached Pepperdine University and most recently worked with George Karl at Sacramento Kings as assistant coach, will be conducting a basketball clinic for Filipino coaches on June 18-19 at the Kerry’s Sports at The Shangri-La The Fort.
Intal, the 4th overall pick in the 2007 PBA Rookie Draft, is confident that the new-look Phoenix squad will make huge noise in the season-ending conference.
He believes new recruits like rookie big man Norbert Torres and playmakers Simon Enciso and Mark Cruz are capable of contributing right away to help him, Mick Pennisi and Willy Wilson.
“Yes, anybody can lead our team, even the young guys,” he said.
Phoenix only won 3 games in the Commissioner’s Cup during the franchise’s initial stint in the PBA. Koy Banal served as the team’s transition coach, before eventually giving way to Vanguardia.
Vanguardia is just 3 months removed from guiding the KL Dragons to the 2016 Asean Basketball league championship. – By Richard Dy
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