ROOKIE Matthew Wright is not yet bsck to full health but believes he's already fit enough to suit up for Phoenix in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday against TnT Katropa at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Wright will be making his debut with the Fuel Masters in the 6:30 p.m. main game after sitting out their first two outings as he recuperates from surgery to remove bone spurs on his foot.
He was supposed to be out for two more weeks, but says he feels fine now and ready enough to be back in action.
“I feel good. It’s just a matter of strengthening and getting back to game shape,” said the Gilas cadet, who was the Fuel Masters’ leading scorer in the last Philippine Cup.
“I was supposed to be out for another two weeks roughly, but I feel like I can cut it into one (week),” Wright added. “We’ll see. I don’t want to force it.”
Wright has already been practicing with Phoenix for the past two weeks, and even showed up on the first day of Gilas Pilipinas’ Monday night practice at the Meralco gym to join the team during its shooting drill.
“I’m just a little too eager,” admitted the rookie gunner. “It’s hard for me to just sit and watch practice, (especially Gilas practice).
Despite Wright , 26, finally on board for the Fuel Masters, coach Ariel Vanguardia said he’ll still play his shooting guard with caution.
“Matt will play but we have to manage his minutes,” said Vanguardia of Wright, with whom he won an Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship with the KL Westports Dragons.
The Phoenix mentor said it was a good thing Wright healed fast from his surgery as early prognosis had him sitting out at least four to six weeks.
“Right after we were eliminated (in the Philippine Cup) he had surgery,” said Vanguardia. “But he was able to come back for us on the third week. He’s practicing already for two weeks now, and this week he practiced with us again."
“He already practiced with Gilas, so I think he’ll be like 85 percent by Sunday.”
Wright seeing action again couldn’t have come at a better time for Phoenix.
The Fuel Masters currently sport an even 1-1 record and is coming off a 101-82 rout at the hands of Star in a game where Vanguardia rued the team’s woeful outside shooting especially from three-point range where they ended up with a measly 2-of-25 clip.
He said Wright’s presence would somehow give back the confidence the Fuel Masters needed in terms of making their shots.
“Hopefully with Matt Wright back on Sunday, maybe he can hit one, and maybe we can be 3-of-25 (from three-point range),” said Vanguardia in jest.