Shortly after Phoenix Super LPG ousted Magnolia from the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals, Saturday night, Matthew Wright and assistant coach Willy Wilson shared a moment on the floor of the AUF Sports and Cultural Center.
The Fil-Canadian sniper was undoubtedly the biggest star of that night. His one-legged trey in the final seconds lifted the Fuel Masters to the semifinals. And everyone on the team — from the players to the coaches — congratulated him.
Wright received Best Player of the Game honors after finishing with 32 points, nine assists, and five rebounds. But before he proceeded to the walk-off interview, Wilson made sure to express his pride in Wright.
He did it by giving the 29-year-old a kiss on the cheek.
“I caught a lot of flak about that on Twitter. Everyone was roasting us for that,” recalled a grinning Wright in 2OT, presented by SMART.
San Miguel’s Chris Ross was among those who noticed the act, and took to Twitter to rib the two.
— Chris Ross (@cmross6) November 14, 2020
Wright then explained that it is just the kind of relationship he has with the 40-year-old. According to him, Wilson has been his guiding light since Phoenix picked him in the special Gilas draft back in 2016.
“He was the first guy, when I got drafted, who introduced himself and who sat me down, and he kinda gave me a little precursor of what to expect in the PBA. Ever since I’ve been in Phoenix, he’s been there right over my shoulder,” he expressed.
“I owe a lot to him.”
Wilson became one of the Fuel Masters’ assistant coaches back in February. He wrapped up a pro career that spanned 15 seasons, which saw him play for Alaska, San Miguel, and Ginebra — where he won his lone PBA title in 2008.
He was then traded to Barako Bull in 2013 and he would stay even after the franchise was sold to Phoenix back in 2016. Wilson spent his last years as a player in Asia’s pioneering pro league there.
“It was very easy for him to transition from a player into a coach. He did it very comfortably. And he might even be a better coach than he was as a player, to be honest.”