Matthew Wright gets perfect birthday gift in Phoenix's win over TNT
MANILA, Philippines – Everything went right for Matthew Wright on his birthday.
The Filipino-Canadian, who turned 27 on Wednesday, February 7, capped his special day with a historic win as the Phoenix Fuel Masters took down the TNT KaTropa for the first time in franchise history, 74-72.
Wright finished with 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and two assists and made the biggest plays down the stretch to keep the Fuel Masters relevant in the playoff race with their 4-4 card.
“It's the only thing I wanted, man. I just wanted to win today. It was a big game, really important for both teams,” said Wright. “We were down all game but they let the door open. We're just lucky to capitalize on some mistakes.”
Phoenix got buried by as much as 14 points and trailed for most of the game before coming to life in the 4th period.
The Fuel Masters were behind by 3 points late in the game until Wright buried a triple with 44 seconds left to tie the count at 72-all. He then set up a pick-and-pop play that attracted two TNT defenders, leaving teammate Doug Kramer free to knock down the game-winning floater with 3 seconds remaining.
Fortunately, Wright is familiar with how TNT deputy Josh Reyes would draw a defensive scheme against him as they were both part of the current Gilas Pilipinas squad.
“I knew that they're going to double. I know Coach Josh. I know the scheme that they're trying to do. They're not going to let me get off a good shot. I knew right when I touched the ball, when I came off that screen, that I was going to be met with either Kelly or Mo,” said Wright.
“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.”
Wright and Co. eye to win their last 4 games as the PBA enters the homestretch of the elimination round. Phoenix will face the Meralco Bolts on February 14 in a Valentine's Day showdown at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com