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    Wright says first-ever semis stint just the start for young Phoenix core

    Apr 7, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    WHILE he may have finally gotten the monkey off his back, Matthew Wright said he and the Phoenix Fuel Masters are still far from being satisfied.

    After booking a first PBA semifinal berth in franchise history, the team is definitely looking forward to achieving bigger things.

    Their 91-76 win over the Alaska Aces Sunday night for their very first playoff win just the start, said the Fil-Canadian sharp-shooter.

    “I’m happy to be part of this. Even if it is just small, this means a lot to the franchise. This is a big deal for us,” said Wright, who scored 14 points in his first playoff win

    “I haven’t got a playoff win since I got here,” added the Gilas Pilipinas mainstay, who was picked by Phoenix at No. 4 during the 2016 rookie draft.

    And while the path to winning a breakthrough PBA championship may be difficult enough, Wright said the Fuel Masters are up to the task.

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    Phoenix is set to meet the winner of the quarterfinal series between defending champion San Miguel and TnT Katropa come the Final Four.

    No problem with that, according to Wright.

    “That’s fine. We’ve got to beat the best teams to win a championship. We’re not going to waltz away to the finals and win a championship easy,” he said.

    “We’re going to go against TnT, we’re going to go against Rain or Shine, we’re going against San Miguel, we’re going against Ginebra, Magnolia. There’s no easy route to the finals, We’re not avoiding anybody. You got to go through these teams. We like our chances and they have to guard us, too."

    Wright said the addition of Calvin Abueva during the Governors Cup and later Alex Mallari and Dave Marcleo during the offseason gave the Fuel Masters a deeper bench rotation and that factored in Phoenix emerging as the top seeded team this conference – another first in franchise history.

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    “We’re a legit team now,” he added. “I feel like we finally have our core and we’re young. We’re just trying to establish ourselves and we have a lot to prove.”

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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