MANILA, Philippines—JC Intal’s friendship with Doug Kramer runs deep.
In fact, before he could decide that he was going to hang up his sneakers, Intal needed a bit of permission and that blessing came from Kramer.
In a story on the PBA’s official website, Intal said visited Kramer at his home to ask for his blessing before deciding to announce that he is retiring from the league.
“Before I announced my retirement on social media, I went to his house but I had myself tested (COVID-19) first,” said Intal, who spoke in Filipino.
“We talked and he was very supportive of my decision.”
Intal, who won one championship each in the PBA and the UAAP, officially retired at 37-years-old after playing for four clubs across 13 seasons.
His career path also seemed to have parallels with Kramer’s.
The two were teammates in Ateneo and spent their first three years together with Air 21, the team that selected them in the draft, and Barangay Ginebra with Intal going fourth in 2007 Draft and Kramer going fifth.
Their union, however, was cut short when Kramer was dealt back to Air21 in 2010 while Intal stayed with the Gin Kings until 2012 before he got shipped to the Purefoods franchise.
But in 2016 the pair were reunited in Phoenix and in 2019, Kramer eventually retired.
Intal and Kramer initially planned out 10-year careers but the latter wished to see his friend play for one more year.
“After 10 years, of course, retirement began to appear in my thought process,” said Intal. “He retired one year before me and he said his wish was to see me play for another year.”
Intal was still a productive role player for the Fuel Masters in the 2020 Philippine Cup, averaging 4.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists across 16 games.
Nevertheless, Intal felt that retirement was imminent especially with the COVID-19 pandemic yet to see its end in the Philippines.
“The world is different now,” said Intal, whose family hails from an artistic background. “Back in December, I spent most of my time in the art studio so I felt that my focus was already elsewhere. I have to shift my focus away from basketball.”
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