Not even a disappointing end to the Phoenix Fuel Masters’ 2016-2017 PBA season can shadow Filipino-Canadian sharpshooter Matthew Wright’s brilliance, as the 26-year-old wingman leads all neophytes for the Rookie of the Year award.
The St. Bonaventure product, despite missing a number of games especially in the Governor’s Cup due to his commitment with Gilas Pilipinas, still came out on top of the rookie ladder with a total of 26.07 statistical points.
The former ASEAN Basketball League Heritage Most Valubale Player’s PBA career-high, so far, is the 42 points he produced in a loss to the NLEX Road Warriors in the Commissioner’s Cup elimination round closer last May 25.
Wright may be on top right now, but there are strong chances that he might fall down since the Fuel Masters have failed to reach the Governor’s Cup playoffs.
On the lookout for the award are his fellow Gilas Cadets — TNT Katropa’s Roger Pogoy and Star Hotshots’ Jio Jalalon, whose respective teams made it to the quarterfinals, both armed with a twice-to-beat playoff incentive.
The six-foot-two Pogoy, a Far Eastern University standut, is second behind Wright with 23.06 SP. The diminutive yet all-around Jalalon, one of Arellano University’s all-time greats, comes in third with 21.59 SP.
Completing the Top Five newbies list are Barangay Ginebra forward and another Gilas Cadet Kevin Ferrer (15.83 SP); and Kia Picanto’s Reden Celda (13.2 SP), who is the lone bright spot of the disgruntled franchise this season.