CAGAYAN DE ORO – Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes was pleased with the performance of Matthew Wright, the rest of his young team as well as the national pool members on the Mindanao selection after the two sides settled for a 114-114 draw on Wednesday night.
Wright stood out for the national team, firing a team-high 22 points highlighted by four triples in just 24 minutes off the bench to solidify his case for inclusion in the Final 12 for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship.
“It wasn’t designed to be that way, but that’s how it turned out,” Reyes said of the Phoenix rookie gunner. “He came out and played very well.”
Wright was one of seven rookies in the 12-man Gilas selection against a grizzled Mindanao crew.
“I was very proud of the way – we had seven rookies – and they fought against very good, veteran players, so I can’t complain,” Reyes said.
The national coach was also glad that not only Troy Rosario, but also Jio Jalalon – two more players on the national pool – proved to be a thorn in the side of Gilas while playing for the Minadanao All-Stars.
“I’m very happy as well with our two guys on the other side – Troy and Jio,” Reyes said. “I thought they played very good as well. That was also important for us to see how well they play.”
Rosario pumped in a game-high 28 points built around five treys in just 26 minutes, while Jalalon chipped in six points, five boards, four assists, and one steal as the duo conspired in a late stand that gave Gilas a worthy tune-up in their first game as a unit.
“We wanted to get the players in a game situation and that’s what we got,” Reyes said.
“Of course, we would’ve wanted to get the win, but compared to what we wanted to achieve, I thought we were able to achieve for a team that’s played for the first time, we had twenty-six assists,” he added. “But at the same time, we had twenty-six turnovers. It shows the unfamiliarity with each other.”