TAIPEI - By now, it has become clear that Matthew Wright will be stepping into the role previously played by Jeff Chan, Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag, and Gary David as Gilas Pilipinas' premier gunner.
Gilas is in good hands, said Alapag.
"He's a lights-out shooter," said Alapag of the Fil-Canadian sniper, who, in just his second tournament in a Gilas uniform, has shown the marksmanship and the consistency from three-point range essential for undersized Philippine teams in international competition.
After a breakout performance in the Seaba Cup in Manila, Wright emerged as the most consistent Gilas player in the 39th Jones Cup where the 6-3 marksman averaged 14 points in nine games while going 25-for-58 from beyond the three-point arc.
Wright, 26, is so impressive in his first season as a PBA player that Alapag feels he will likely break the league record for three-point shots of 1,520 career treys which Alapag, incidentally, holds.
"If he stays in the PBA long enough, it's very, very likely he'll break the three-point record. He's that good a shooter," said Alapag, now an assistant coach in the national team.
The former Gilas captain is also confident Wright can get the job done when he and fellow rookie Roger Pogoy take on the role as the Philippines' top perimeter threats beginning in the Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon next month.
"Absolutely. You look at the past Gilas shooters like Larry and Jeff, he fits right there in the same class this early in his career," Alapag said. "He's really just a knock-down shooter."
Wright, however, plays down his performance for Gilas, saying he's merely doing his job.
"I'm not doing anything extraordinary, man," the Phoenix guard said. "My job in the team is to make shots and if I'm not making shots, then I'm not doing my job. All I had to do was make shots and I've been shooting my whole life."
He nonetheless feels honored to be lined up alongside Chan and Co.
"To be mentioned in the same breath as the Gary Davids, the Mario Lassiters, Larry Fonacier and Jeff Chan, those are all great shooters in their own right, all those guys I look up to," he said.
"I envy the careers that they've had. I'm young and I'm just trying to gain as much experience as possible."