JC Intal retires after 13 seasons in PBA

Published March 22, 2021, 8:58 AM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from JC Intal’s Instagram account

JC Intal, who became known as “The Rocket” for his dunking prowess during his amateur days before playing 13 PBA seasons, announced his retirement Sunday, March 21.

The 37-year-old Intal made the announcement through his Instagram account, reflecting on a career highlighted by his time with Ateneo in college, stints with five PBA teams and playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

“It is a bittersweet feeling for me to say goodbye to the game that has been a huge part of my life, but I am moving forward feeling happy and proud knowing I made the most of the privilege to play basketball professionally,” Intal said in a lengthy post.

Intal was a high school standout at Letran before being recruited by Ateneo in 2002, beginning a memorable collegiate career where he won a UAAP championship in his freshman year.

He later became the Blue Eagles’ best player while also flaunting his ability to dunk the ball when the opportunity arises. Intal also spent time with Harbour Centre in the defunct Philippine Basketball League.

Intal was selected fourth overall by Air21 in the 2007 PBA Rookie Draft before being traded to Barangay Ginebra after two seasons.

Following a three-year stay with the PBA’s most popular ballclub, Intal was dealt to B-Meg (now-Magnolia) via a three-way trade in 2012 and helped Tim Cone capture his first championship with the franchise during that year’s Commissioner’s Cup.

Intal was on the move again in 2013 when the rechristened San Mig Super Coffee shipped him to Barako Bull where he played for the team until it was sold to Phoenix before the start of the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.

In-between that time, Intal got a chance to represent the country in 2015 with Gilas under coach Tab Baldwin. The Philippines made it all the way to the Final but missed out on a chance to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics after losing to host China.

His final four seasons with Phoenix saw Intal play a minor role in the franchise’s first two semifinal appearances, including last season’s PBA Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga where the Fuel Masters fell a win shy of making the Finals.