MANILA - After 13 seasons in the PBA, veteran swingman JC Intal has announced his retirement.
In an emotional Instagram post on Sunday night, Intal said he is stepping away from basketball "after two decades of playing the sport I love."
"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," said the 37-year-old Intal.
"It has been the honor of my life to play basketball. From the bottom of my heart, again, THANK YOU."
Intal played collegiate basketball for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, making the Mythical Team in Season 69. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 PBA Rookie Draft by Air21 Express.
After two seasons with Air21/Barako Bull, Intal played for Barangay Ginebra and then for the Purefoods franchise, before returning to Barako Bull in 2013. He stayed with the team when they were acquired by Phoenix Petroleum in 2011, and emerged as a cornerstone of the franchise.
"Words cannot express how grateful I am to every single person who helped me make this journey possible—from playing for 2 years in Letran for High School, to 5 years in Ateneo for College, and 13 years in the pro league. Thank you to my wife, Bianca, and our daughters Lucia and Carmen for the love and inspiration," said Intal.
The 6-foot-4 swingman, who earned the nickname "The Rocket" for his high-flying ways in college, expressed his gratitude to his multitude of coaches -- from Coach Joel Banal and Coach Norman Black, his mentors in Ateneo, to PBA coaches Jong Uichico and Tim Cone. He made special mention of Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin, who "gave me my biggest break when he invited me to be part of Gilas Pilipinas."
Intal was part of the national team who represented the Philippines in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China, where he averaged 3.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.
In his last conference with Phoenix Super LPG, Intal averaged 4.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.