It was a happy birthday indeed for Matthew Wright
The Filipino-Canadian sharpshooter celebrated his 27th birthday on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. And the best present he received was the Phoenix Fuel Masters’ 74-72 come-from-behind victory over the TNT Katropa.
“It’s the only thing I wanted, man. I just wanted to win today.
“It was a big game, really important for both teams… We were down all game but they let the door open. We’re just lucky to capitalize on some mistakes,” Wright expressed.
The six-foot-four guard-forward top-billed for the now 4-4 Fuel Masters with 16 points on 38.5 percent shooting on top of five rebounds, a game-high three steals, and two assists, in nearly 37 minutes of playing time.
But his impact in the victory was more than the numbers he produced.
Wright scored and assisted in Phoenix’s last five points — a triple in the 44.2-second mark that made it 72-all; and a key assist to a rolling Doug Kramer that led to the game-winning floater with just three seconds left to play.
“I knew that they’re gonna double,” said Wright of the game-winning play. “So it was just a matter of Doug positioning himself in the right spot, and a matter of me just making a good pass.
“It just happened very instinctively.”
Fuel Masters head coach Louie Alas was all praises for the sophomore forward in that last sequence.
“Good play by Matt,” lauded the soft-spoken bench strategist. “Desisyon niya yun. Siya yung first option [na titira] but I said to Matt, ‘Kung ido-double ka, look for Doug kasi si Doug talaga ang malilibre doon eh’.”
He may have been the brightest star of Wednesday night, but Wright tipped his hat to his teammates — or his seniors — who made the comeback victory possible by showing commendable composure in times badly needed.
“We’re a veteran team,” said the St. Bonaventure product. “We have some young guys, like myself, Jason [Perkins]. But we got some very savvy vets who know how to win: RJ [Jazul] JC [Intal], Willie [Wilson], Doug, Jeff [Chan].
“They know how to win games, they know how to close out games, so I feel like we have a good batch of guys to go far this year.”