I think we have a new potential rivalry in town.
With both TNT Tropang Giga and the Phoenix Fuel Masters advancing to the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals, one of the most anticipated matchups will be between two of the top three-point shooters in the league thus far, TNT’s RR Pogoy and Phoenix’s Matthew Wright.
After their November 14 games, both Pogoy and Wright are among the league’s top scorers and most prolific shooters.
In 12 games, Pogoy has averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.7 triples per contest while shooting 34.0percent from beyond the arc. His season-high was dropping 45 points against the Alaska Aces on October 11, and he is coming off a 34-point outing also against Alaska this past weekend.
As for Wright, he is norming 23.6 points on top of 5.3 boards, 6.2 dimes, 1.3 steals, and 3.4 triples per game while connecting on 39.0-percent of his threes. Wright has been more consistent than Pogoy, though, scoring in double-digits in every game this season, with a high of 36 against Meralco last October 12.
Pogoy is currently the third-best scorer and is no. 4 in steals in the league, while Wright is currently the second-best scorer and is tied for no. 1 in assists with Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson.
Wright is at the very top of the leaderboard for made three-pointers per game, while Pogoy is sitting at the ninth spot.
Both TNT and Phoenix are set to kick off their best-of-five semifinal affair on November 18, with the series winner facing the winner of the other best-of-five semifinal series pitting Ginebra against Meralco.
What I love about this matchup between Pogoy and Wright, aside from the fact both are dead shots from rainbow country, is that both are also Gilas Pilipinas mainstays. Pogoy played in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, and Wright was a shoo-in for that squad had he not gotten injured prior to the competition.
In terms of explosiveness, Pogoy seems to be the slightly streakier, more explosive of the two, owing much to his 45-point outing versus Alaska along with scoring 25-plus against Phoenix, Meralco, and Alaska once more. Pogoy’s streakiness, however, can be a double-edged sword because he can just as easily miss more than he makes from downtown.
Remember that after lighting up Alaska with 10 (YES TEN) triples on October 11, he shot a combined 5-of-17 from deep in his next two games against Terrafirma and SMB. He was also held to single-digits in two games — against Magnolia and Rain or Shine, shooting a combined 2-of-12 from beyond the arc in those matches.
On the other hand, Wright is a much more dependable and consistent shooter. The Fil-Canadian sniper has scored 25-plus points in five games so far, with no scoring total going under 10 points in a single contest. And though he had his own cold spell, shooting a combined 2-of-17 on consecutive games against Ginebra and Magnolia, he quickly regained his form and shot 42-percent from the three-point land in his last 7 games.
Phoenix last played TNT on October 19, which the latter handily won, 110-91. In that game, both Pogoy and Wright shot the lights out.
Pogoy hit five threes en route to a team-high 30 points, while Wright nailed four triples to finish with 31 markers. It’s also worth noting that Wright was flawless from the free-throw line, making all 13 attempts.
As a team, it sure looks like TNT has a deeper and more complete roster from top to bottom, but in terms of their individual head-to-head, Wright is a slight favorite over Pogoy.
It’s going to be crazy good, this series, and in particular, this matchup between two of the finest shooters we have in Philippine Basketball.