MATTHEW Wright admitted it’s tough to sustain putting on you’re A-game when you know you can beat an opponent even without bringing your 100 percent.
Coming off a 107-point demolition of Myanmar, Gilas Pilipinas appeared to go through the motions at times on Saturday night, but still did more than enough to dismantle Singapore, 113-66, in their Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship matchup.
National coach Chot Reyes admitted in the post-game conference that he felt his team played a “poor” second half after failing to match their advanced hustle stats in the last game that include deflections, screen assists, screens that lead to assists, the pass that lead to assists, diving on the floor for the loose ball or “floor burns.”
“When the opportunity to dive for a loose ball, we'll do it, but I felt like, he's right, we kind of fell flat in the first half,” Wright admitted. “It's one of those things when you came up with a 107-point win and you're up by 40 at halftime. It's a challenge to stay motivated and the foot on the gas. I feel like we came out very sluggish.
“But we got the win and move on to the next team,” he added. “It's gonna be a long journey so we have to move on.”
Reyes said he knows where the players are coming from, but is still reminding them to stay on their toes.
“I understand from the players' point of view, it's hard to get themselves ready and up all the time for these games, but we have to remain disciplined and prepare for the tougher games,” the national coach said.
Wright looked like he was one of the few who heeded Reyes’ call as he saw the most action among his teammates on Saturday, playing 20 minutes, scoring 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including two triples, and tallying one steal.
But as a unit, Gilas could’ve done better, the Phoenix rookie felt.
“I felt like the hustle stats in the first half, second half we came flat,” Wright admitted. “Can’t have afford to have that. We have to learn how to have killer instinct and put our foot right from the get go, no holding back and don't give them a chance.”