No one expected Matthew Wright and Calvin Abueva to click right away when Phoenix Super LPG traded for the latter back in 2018.
After all, their personalities were polar opposites.
Wright was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada while Abueva grew up in the mean streets of Angeles City, Pampanga. Wright is a man of few words while Abueva is charismatic. On the court, the 6-foot-4 swingman is a picture of finesse, while the 6-foot-3 utility forward is rugged and wild.
But when they played together, it was perfect symphony. Off the court, it was pure magic.
“Our bond was very special as most could see. We have no business being close friends but we became friends instantly,” Wright, whom Abueva fondly calls ‘Tisoy’, shared to Tiebreaker Times.
The dynamic duo would only be on the same team for 30 months, though – technically 14 months, with Abueva suspended for over a year. In a shock trade last Wednesday, Phoenix shipped Abueva to Magnolia for Chris Banchero along with three picks.
And Wright will definitely miss Abueva.
“I’ll miss the bond we shared, and how competitive we were with each other.”
But Wright has to move on, as he looks forward to sharing the backcourt with Banchero. He’s also anxiously waiting for whom Phoenix will pick as the sixth overall pick in the stacked 2021 PBA Draft on March 14.
“I’m feeling optimistic about the trade because we can get someone really good in this draft, and Chris is a proven star himself.”
The pressure will be on Wright though, along with Justin Chua and Jason Perkins. Critics and fans alike will expect more for the Fuel Masters after letting Abueva go. Coming off a semis run in the PBA bubble, Phoenix needs to upstage that outing to justify the trade.
For Wright – a Phoenix lifer – he is confident that they can continue the momentum heading into the 46th season of the PBA. After all, they still have the culture head coach Topex Robinson had already built.
“I’m excited for the challenge and the team will face it head on because we feel like we’ve built a culture.”