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Wright ready for pivotal role as Gilas' go-to shooter

Matthew Wright of Gilas Pilipinas and Phoenix Fuelmasters | PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — With Chot Reyes putting a premium on shooting, a Gilas talent like Matthew Wright is likely to hog the spotlight. 

And even despite being a newcomer, the Filipino-Canadian seems to understand what his role in the system is. 

“I’m here to replace guys like Jeff Chan and Gary David,” he said after the nationals beat the Indonesians in the gold medal match of the 2017 SEABA Championships, Thursday night. “I have to shoot with confidence. I have to shoot at a high percentage”

“I have some big shoes to fill as one of the designated shooters in the team,” the guard out of Phoenix Fuelmasters acknowledged.

But such challenge seemed to have barely put a dent to his game.

Wright has been stellar ever since becoming a member of the Gilas’ talent pool. After winning two of the three All-Star MVP trophies in PBA’s week-long festivities, the rookie went on to leave his prints all over the regional meet.

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READ: Phoenix’s Vanguardia vindicated in choosing right with Wright

The 26-year-old guard normed with 12 points—the third best in the event and from a crew that features top-notch scorers. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he also registered a 54.5 percentage from the rainbow territory.

“I have to shoot with confidence, I have to shoot at a high percentage. I’m not gonna get the same amount of shots that I did with Phoenix. So the shots that I do get, I have to knock them down,” Wright said. 

With a growing buzz to his name, the 6-foot-4 national team rookie acknowledges that he and his team will now draw more scouting eyes.

“They can scout me all they want. They can scout the team all they want. But they have to go out there and guard us,” he offered. “We scout teams, too. That’s the beauty of basketball.”

“They know what we’re gonna do, and we just have to be able to execute it. It’s a chess match. So they can scout us all they want but they actually have to go out there and guard us.”

Having played in a couple of international tournaments himself, Wright is also aware that the road is only going to get steeper. 

“I’m not saying this is a cakewalk. But the competition was not as high-level as what we’re going to be facing. We definitely know it going to be harder,” he said.

“We’re up for it."

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