FOES turn into teammates as Mathew Wright looks forward to joining Paul Lee and Jio Jalalon in the Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 pool after squaring off in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
Wright and the rest of Phoenix lost to Lee, Jalalon and Star, which finished the Fuel Masters off in just two games, capped by a 91-71 victory in Game Two of the best-of-three series on Monday night.
Now, the Fuel Masters rookie teams up with Lee and Jalalon aside from Phoenix teammate Norbert Torres in the Gilas pool.
“Those are the kind of events where you want to see all the best guys in the PBA and see how they practice, see their tendencies, take some things from them,” Wright said after the game. “And you only get better when you play against the best guys in the country, so I’m excited for that.”
Playing against them in the quarterfinals already motivated Wright, who was again one of the few bright spots for the Fuel Masters, finishing with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-18 shooting, five boards, one assist, and one steal, against five turnovers in 38 minutes.
“Playing against guys like Ping, Paul Lee, these guys are really good, and it makes you want to elevate your game to the next level,” Wright said. “So I’m excited for next conference, I’m excited for the rest of my PBA career.”
“I got my feet wet, so now I know what to expect,” the Filipino-Candian wingman added. “This conference was kind of just I got thrown into the fire, and I just wanted to see where I’m at physically, mentally, skill-wise, and I got a lot of work to do.”
For now, Wright believes the Hotshots are capable of going all the way this conference with how they’ve been playing.
“They’re a championship-caliber team,” Wright said. “They have a lot of guys, they’re deep at the guards and the bigs, so it seemed like they just kept rotating, fresh guys get in and out of the game, just really tired us out.”
“We’re going to have a little bit of break and it’s back to the drawing board,” he added.