The 2017 Governor’s Cup has been nothing short of a nightmare for the Phoenix Fuel Masters, who, after starting the conference with two straight victories, suddenly went into disarray and lost seven straight matches.
They had the chance to break the dry spell on Wednesday night at the Ynares Center. But the odds, yet again, did not go in their favor, as their skid has extended to eight games after they bowed to Raymond Almazan and Rain or Shine, 111-116.
The stinging defeat was unfortunately accompanied by the bitter fact that they have already kissed their playoff hopes goodbye for the first time this season.
Obviously, everyone from the Fuel Masters side was hurt after the loss. But nobody was more pained than Matthew Wright, who had done his best for his team by scoring a game-high 36 points to go with seven rebounds.
“We missed the playoffs. Doesn’t matter how many points I scored,” the 26-year-old rued.
“Coming from a winning culture, I’ve won in every single level I’ve played in — high school, college, pro — and in my rookie year, on terms like this, it’s really frustrating.
“Losing eight straight? it’s really frustrating,” confessed the Filipino-Canadian sharpshooter.
Dropping eight straight games had come as a surprise, as Phoenix, on paper, have enough tools to be a playoff contenderm even with Brandon Brown replacing a hurt Eugene Phelps — a move that Wright thinks did not hamper their run.
“Brandon came in and he played pretty well,” lauded Wright of Brown. “He even put up better numbers than Eugene, I think. So I wouldn’t say that Eugene going down hurt us because we ended up getting a really good import as well.”
But when asked what he thinks went wrong during that disappointing skid, Wright did not have much to say about it.
“I can’t really comment on that, but I’m sure a lot of changes will be made.
“I just think we’re just not good enough yet at this level. Straight up, we’re just not good enough yet. We just have to simply become better,” the Phoenix rookie said.
But no matter how he despises this Wednesday night, the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart still managed to look at the positives of the Fuel Masters’ early exit.
“We have one more game left, so hopefully we can salvage the season,” he said.
“We’ll have an early vacation, but I’m just gonna use that time to go home and see my family. I had a busy year, so I need a mental and physical break.”