MATTHEW Wright is not about to ignore his roots.
The Gilas Pilipinas gunner is planning to treat the Malaysian team currently seeing action in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship here in the country.
Wright was a vital cog of the Westports Malaysia Dragons team that won the Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship over the Singapore Slingers last year under coach Ariel Vanguardia, now the mentor of the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA, where the Fii-Canadian wingman also plays.
If time permits, the 25-year-old Wright hopes to reciprocate the hospitality shown to him by the Malaysians during his year-long stint in the ABL, where he was named Asean Heritage Import MVP.
“Maybe, we’ll see,” he said about the plan. “I’ve been meaning to take those guys out. They’ve been hospitable to me when I was in Malaysia. And now that they’re in my home country, then I should return the favor.”
From the current Malaysian team, which Gilipinas Pilipinas whipped Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, 106-51, only one player was actually a teammate of Wright with the Dragons – Choo Wei Hong.
He’s definitely happy with how Wei Hong has embraced the role of leader of this young Malaysian squad.
“It was good to see Wei Hong out there as the main guy,” he said. “He works hard, he usually goes all-out in practice, and I can see that he’s the glue.”
Wei Hong though, finished with only a single point and had four rebounds in 11 minutes of play.
In contrast, Wright was again active on the offensive end for Gilas with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field.
“I didn’t feel anything, It’s just another game for me,” he said about meeting his former teammate for the first time in a game since the ABL finals.
In as much as he had good memories playing in Malaysia, he said everything is now in the past. And Gilas Pilipinas is the present.
“I do cherish that we did win a championship last year, but this is a new year, I have a new team,” Wright stressed. “I have a different priority to focus on now.”