Matthew Wright refused to speak up on reports that he will head to the Phoenix Fuel Masters and reunite with Ariel Vanguardia, his coach with the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ASEAN Basketball League, in today’s special draft for members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
“It will be true on Sunday when they call my name, if they call my name,” Wright said during Friday’s SLAM Draft Suite at the Impressions Restaurants inside the Resorts World Manila.
The Fil-Canadian, perhaps the best shooter of this year’s draft class, will perhaps be happy with rejoining Vanguardia for his pro entry after the two teamed up to help the Malaysian club win its first-ever ABL crown last March.
Wright had a superb showing in the ABL, averaging 23.7 points behind his impressive three-point shooting and won the season’s ASEAN Heritage Most Valuable Player award. His performance caught the attention of Gilas, which signed him to a deal that also led to his PBA entry.
He said that Vanguardia’s tutelage allowed him to get an idea of the PBA grind.
“He’s been very hard on me and he demands a lot from me,” Wright said. “I’ve played probably almost every minute of every game and I couldn’t get any excuse if I was tired or not. I just show up at practice and just have to play as hard as the next game.
“He did a good job of telling me the truth about the PBA. The schedule in the PBA is a lot harder, a lot more basketball, and a lot of strenous. So if you’re waking up every morning sore in the ABL and you play once a week for seven months, then you gonna have a problem.
“I’m happy to have someone telling me before hand and I was kind of telling me straight up how it was and I appreciate it,” he added.
Wright said the ABL experience, coupled another international stints with Mighty Sports in the Merlion Cup in Singapore allowed him to hone his preparation for the pros.
But he has also doubled his preparation, saying that the PBA is a “no boys allowed league”, while listing Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle as players he would like to face as a gauge.