Matthew Wright was cringing as he watched Gilas Pilipinas take on Iran last Thursday. One of the marked snipers for the Philippines, the 27-year-old Filipino-Canadian was relegated to a member of the audience at the Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran, Iran.
Unfortunately, this was the game during which he had to serve his suspension, stemming from the brawl Gilas and Australia figured in last July 2.
“It was very frustrating. You’re more nervous watching the game than when you are on the court.
“You see things differently when you are up on the stands but we just missed some shots. It’s a game of hits and misses, they were good shots,” rued Wright.
“Matthew is going to provide us an extra option on our shooting, as a shooting weapon for this team. We’ve had some problems with our outside shooting against Iran so that’s a welcome addition,” added head coach Yeng Guiao.
Wright, who is shooting at a 43.8 percent clip from distance in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, watched Gilas shoot a horrid 5-for-28 from downtown in their 73-81 loss to Iran – Gilas’ third loss in the qualifiers to drop to 4-3.
With their backs against the wall, the 6-foot-2 swingman is bringing a do-or-die mindset to this game.
“It feels good to be back and help these guys. That one-game suspension felt like forever, but I’m just ready to put the past behind me and focus on trying to help the team.
“Tomorrow, it’s a do or die. We need to win this game in order for us to qualify for China. We are approaching this game with a lot of seriousness and I think we have a game plan that will be effective against them,” added Wright.
And he can’t wait to torch Qatar together with one of his heroes, Marcio Lassiter.
“I’m excited as well because Marcio is one of the players I look up to.
“Coming in, I’ve heard comparisons between us and it’s very flattering with Marcio being a great shooter, a champion, and all that,” Wright shared.
“We get along off the court too. We have great chemistry and we will make things happen and open the floor for everybody else. We just got to do our job and knock down shots.”
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