In the ABL and in the PBA, Filipino-Canadian sharpshooter Matthew Wright has built an image as a calm and collected player, simply letting his game speak for himself.
So seeing him lose his cool in a match was unusual.
With 7:06 to go in the fourth quarter of Gilas Pilipinas’ bout with Chinese Taipei-B Monday, Wright was defending Taipei-B’s Huang Hung-han, who was bodying him up in the low post, trying to carve some space for a good shot.
But Huang bodied up too hard, causing the 26-year-old Phoenix Fuel Masters rookie to fall down on his back. And that made Wright furious, as he quickly got back up to his feet and charged towards the Taiwanese, expressing his anger.
Still, cooler heads prevailed. And as the final buzzer sounded, the Filipinos reigned triumphant, 93-82, and earned their second straight win in the 39th William Jones Cup to improve their win-loss card to 2-1.
For Wright, his commotion with Huang is nothing personal, just all part of the game.
“We were just discussing what we’re gonna do after the game,” quipped the Toronto, Ontario-born cager. “[It’s] nothing personal. It’s just basketball — two competitors going at it. It’s just the heat of the moment.
“At the end of the game, we shook the man’s hand, and we forget about it.”
That incident did not really bother Wright. After averaging 13 markers in the last two games, Wright erupted for a game-high 21 points, with eight in the final frame, spiked by five treys. He also added three caroms and two steals.
And for him, he simply did his job with Gilas — taking shots, that is.
“I’m just trying to do my job. My job is to make shots in this team, and I was lucky to be put in situations where I didn’t have to do anything, I didn’t have to think, I just have to catch the ball and shoot it,” said Wright, who is averaging 13.0 points on 50 percent shooting to go along with 1.5 rebounds so far.
“Credit to Jio [Jalalon] [and] Kiefer [Ravena] for putting me in those positions to succeed.”