Gilas guard Matthew Wright looks back on his days with PH youth team
Matthew Wright came out impressed after seeing Kai Sotto and Batang Gilas in action. Jerome Ascano

WATCHING Batang Gilas from the sidelines in the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Matthew Wright couldn’t help but look back on his days as a youth player and marveled at the progress of the young cagers representing the country in the 2017 Seaba Championship. 

The Phoenix wingman starred in the 2008 edition of the RP Youth team and seeing these kids play took him back to the time when he was just a wide-eyed kid trying to figure out what to do next with his career. 

"That was the first time I actually played for something bigger than myself - bigger than a club team, bigger than a school team. That was the first time I actually had to be selfless," said Wright.

"My whole life, I've been selfish with basketball. You're trying to be the best, you're trying to get the accolades for the next level. RP Youth was the first time I actually played for the country. It gave me a sense of pride and that was the first time I really felt pride in being Filipino," he added.

Like any other spectator, Wright was left impressed after Batang Gilas' 96-73 win over Indonesia. Not surprisingly, it was Kai Sotto who caught Wright's attention.

"These kids are good, man. That Kai Sotto kid, he's huge. I didn't know how tall he was until I actually sat down and watched his game," said Wright. 

Asked what he thinks about the composition of the squad, the 26-year-old tipped his hat off to the Batang Gilas mainstays.

"I don't even remember what I was doing when I was 14-15. I definitely wasn't playing in any international competition. These guys are definitely on the right track right now. I just wish them the best of luck, the best of health," he said. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @bassman500