Matthew Wright glad to suddenly be eligible for draft after league relaxes rules on Fil-foreigners
Matthew Wright was among the standouts in the first day of the PBA Draft Combine. Jerome Ascano

HE didn’t have a Plan B. Good thing because he didn’t need one.

Matthew Wright feels fortunate to suddenly become eligible for this year’s PBA Draft after the league relaxed its rules on Filipino-foreigners this season in favor of the Gilas cadets.

After being named to the Gilas pool that will take part in the special draft, the 25-year-old Filipino-Canadian cager somehow circumvented the process, waiving the requirement for Fil-foreigners of playing two conferences in the PBA D-League, unless they are at least 27 years old.

Wright did play for the PH Under-18 team, but only players who have represented the country in the senior level are exempted from the D-League requirement.

The rest of the Fil-foreign applicants in this draft had to complete the requirement.

“I wasn’t expecting to get drafted ‘til 2019, so being able to play three years ahead of schedule, to me, it’s a big (deal)…I’m lucky,” Wright said. “I managed to squeak by the system and I’m just trying to make the most out of it right now.”

“To be honest, I had no idea where I was going to go (in case I wasn’t allowed),” he admitted. “I’m sure opportunities would’ve presented itself later on, but I’m just happy everything worked out because I didn’t have any Plan B at this point.”

The 6-foot-4 wingman is expected to go high in the Gilas draft after putting up a solid career since getting undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, playing in the French league before reinforcing the Malaysia Dragons in their Asean Basketbball League title conquest this season where he was named Asean Heritage Import MVP.

And those credentials are enough for the expectations on him to be also high.

“To be honest, nobody’s expectations are going to be higher than mine, so I put the most pressure on myself,” the St. Bonaventure product said.

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“I hope I did (make a good first impression),” he added after Day One of the Draft Combine on Wednesday. “I just wanted to be here and work hard and see how everyone else works and see what I have to put myself up against.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos