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Phoenix’s Vanguardia vindicated in choosing right with Wright

Phoenix Fuelmasters headcoach Ariel Vanguardia (L) and cager Matthew Wright | Composite Image/PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — Ariel Vanguardia cannot help but remember the time when no one wanted a piece of Matthew Wright.

Now, according to the Phoenix Fuelmasters head coach, everyone can see what the hotshot guard is worth.

“I had to do a lot of convincing (in Phoenix),” he recalled. “Kasi nga di nila masyado kilala. They were skeptical, baka daw player ko lang kasi sa (Asean Basketball League) kaya gusto kong kunin noong draft.”

“Ngayon, nava-validate na talagang he’s the right man for Phoenix,” he added.

“The choices were Kevin Ferrer, Jio Jalalon, Arnold van Opstal sa Gilas cadets and given na kasi na si Mac Belo will go to Blackwater. We made the right choice,” Vanguardia offered.

The 44-year-old tactician, who was Wright’s coach in Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL, added that such validation is now amplified as the latter is now showcasing his full arsenal and potential in the international stage.

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“I'm happy sa performance niya ngayon. Coach Chot played him at point guard also today (last night). Maganda, he's developing and I think he's in great shape.”

Wright is averaging 12.3 points in the 2017 SEABA Championships for Gilas. His best game came against Singapore where he registered 13 markers on a 63 percent clip.

And of course, Vanguardia also couldn’t help but miss his ward on Phoenix's fold.

“I’m proud na we’re represented in Gilas. ‘Yung sacrifice ng team playing without him—medyo hindi na ganoon kasakit,” he shared.

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