Matthew Wright confident deep Gilas backcourt can fill gap left by injured Terrence Romeo
Gilas guard Matthew Wright is unfazed by the absence of Terrence Romeo heading to the World Cup qualifier against Japan on Friday. Jerome Ascano

MATTHEW Wright is ready to step up as Gilas Pilipinas' top outside gunner in the absence of Terence Romeo.

The Fil-Canadian shooting guard said he's accepting the challenge of stepping up for the team after Romeo failed to make the trip to Tokyo for Gilas' opening match in the FIBA World Cup qualifier this Friday.

A knee injury has kept out Romeo from competing in the world championship qualifier, forcing him to stay behind as Gilas departed for the Japanese capital on Tuesday morning.

"I'm always ready and will always be ready," said Wright prior to Gilas' departure. "I'm aware there will be a lot more shots on me. So I always go to the gym and prepare for this kind of situation."

Wright has emerged as one of Gilas' top outside shooters ever since he first donned the national colors during the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championships in Manila last May.

He has not looked back ever since. And he's looking forward to this new challenge.

"I'll go about it the same way I'll go about it if Terence is here or anyone else is here," he stressed. "I always put enough pressure on myself to perform (better)."

The Phoenix sophomore said it helps that other shooting guards such as Roger Pogoy and Allein Maliksi are also in the team.

Wright even pointed out the fact that Maliksi is the reigning PBA three-point king.

"Allein, Roger, and I as well as Gabe (Norwood) and Jayson (Castro) will all contribute and fill up the void," he said.

Wright added he and the others are definitely up to the challenge of taking over the place left behind by Romeo

"Not just because we lost Terrence put us in a disadvantage as far as our shooting is concerned," he said. "Everybody will just have to up their level of play."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos