NU recruit Joshua Sinclair draws comparisons to JC Intal

THE FUTURE? Eric Altamirano sees some JC Intal in his young stud. File photo of Altamirano from Josh Albelda; photo of Sinclair from Sinclair's Facebook; photo of Intal from FIBA

THE FUTURE? Eric Altamirano sees some JC Intal in his young stud.

File photo of Altamirano from Josh Albelda; photo of Sinclair from Sinclair's Facebook; photo of Intal from FIBA

MANILA, Philippines – The National University Bulldogs are expected to add many young and talented prospects over the next few UAAP season after some solid recruitment - a staple for the basketball program over the past few years.

One of the exciting talents set to make his debut in Season 80 (2017) is Joshua Sinclair from Cebu, who confirmed his commitment to the university last October. The standout of Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu was also sought after by La Salle and Ateneo.

“Actually he’s been practicing with us in Team B,” Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano told the media on Thursday, March 3. 

Speaking at the press conference of the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC), which he’s the program director for, Altamirano also said that Sinclair still has some education to go through before grasping the system National U runs.

“He’s slowly getting the system [and] understanding the system, but he’s still a long ways,” said the head coach, who led the Bulldogs to a UAAP men’s basketball title in 2014. “Another year still for him to be able to play for Team A.”

Sinclair is 6-foot-3 and has displayed the kind of versatility that helps UAAP teams. Although his talent is raw, there’s no question the potential to be a good college player is there. 

Together with former high school teammate and now UP Maroon Felix Jaboneta, Sinclair helped propel SHS-ADC to a Cesafi juniors championship in 2014 and also to the 2015 NBTC Championship against the San Beda Red Cubs, 82-78, last March.

During the title-clincher, the combo forward scored 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while exhibiting an impressive motor and knack for the ball.

Altamirano has seen a larger sample size of what Sinclair is capable of on the basketball court, and had an interesting choice for which current PBA player to compare the budding talent to.

“Right now he reminds me of JC Intal, a JC Intal type of player - long, quick, can handle the ball for his size,” the head coach said.

The 6-foot-4 Intal, 32, is in his ninth year in the PBA. Currently playing for new franchise Phoenix, he’s averaging 12.7 points and 6 rebounds a game while shooting 35% from the field.

The former fourth-overall pick was a household name for Ateneo during his UAAP career, which included a won championship in 2002 and a Mythical First Team award in 2006. 

With his reputation as a high-flyer and athletic talent preceding him, Intal was considered by many as the Blue Eagles’ best player during the peak of his college career. Just last year, Intal was also included in Gilas-Pilipinas 2015 FIBA Asia roster.

Altamirano, however, was again quick to temper the expectations on Sinclair.

“[He’s] very smart, but still young, still needs that body to be able to cope up with the UAAP level.”

Sinclar, who studied in Australia before moving to Cebu, has to do a year of residency in 2016 because he decided to take the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) instead of enrolling in the K12 system.

The UAAP requires those who take such a route to sit out a season before playing.

“He took the PEP test. He already finished his K10 in Australia. If he still enrolls in Grade 11, he’d be stuck in the K12. He opted to take the PEP test,” Altamirano said in Tagalog.

“Fortunately he passed that. He’s now eligible, but the rule of the UAAP [is], if you take the PEP test, you still do one year of residency.” –