LUCENA - Playing for the Gilas Pilipinas side in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) is rookie Matthew Wright's way of paying homage to his roots.
"Being able to represent the Philippines is going back to my roots, going back to my where my family came from," said the Fil-Canadian gunner on Friday night after coach Chot Reyes officially named members of the national team suiting up for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier.
Wright was one of only three cadets included by Reyes in his 12-man team, something which he said he's been working on since training camp began in Tagaytay City last month.
"I put pressure on myself to make this team," he stressed. "Hard work pays off, that's all I can say."
He added being named as part of the national team is the biggest accomplishment of his career.
"I couldn' t be prouder to wear Gilas Pilipinas acrossed my chest," said the freshman guard of Phoenix.
For the second time in the the three-leg PBA All-Star break, Wright was named MVP after playing a key role in Gilas' comeback from 17-points down to beat the Luzon All-Stars, 122-111, at the Quezon Convention Center.
He earlier shared the MVP honor with Troy Rosario during the Cagayan de Oro City stop of the mid-season spectacle when the national team drew with the Mindanao All-Stars, 114-all.
The effort certainly bolstered his inclusion in the Seaba lineup.
But Wright was honest enoigh to say he was surprised with his second MVP plum.
"I felt like Jonathan Grey was just as worthy. Mike Tolomia played reallly well. And a lot of guys could have won this time," he said.
"I'm just lucky it's my day today."
Indeed it was.