MANILA, Philippines – It's the PBA playoffs and Matthew Wright knows it's when everything is put on the line.
And Wright did exactly that as he shrugged off mild bronchitis and fueled Phoenix to a dramatic 92-90 win over San Miguel in Game 3 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup playoffs on Sunday, April 21.
The 28-year-old guard delivered 18 points, with none bigger than his 6 free throws in the final minute as the Fuel Masters now trail 1-2 against the Beermen in the best-of-seven duel.
"I have a little bit of a sore throat, but you got to man up. This is the playoffs," said Wright, who had been suffering from the illness for the past 3 days, according to coach Louie Alas.
"Everybody's aching, no one's feeling 100%. We have a job to do and no way I was going to miss the game."
Just like in its Game 2 win, San Miguel looked like it was groomed for another come-from-behind triumph as it managed to knot the score at 86-all with 1:30 remaining.
But Wright wasn't going to allow another meltdown, knocking down all of his 6 free throw attempts to finish with 12 big points in the final frame.
"I missed a free throw earlier, but I knew once I get to the free throw line I just try to ignore the noise and shoot the way I've been shooting for years," he said after going 1-of-2 at the line before the 4th quarter.
"We really needed those free throws down the stretch, and thankfully, the ball was in my hands and I was able to get fouled."
Phoenix shoots to level the series in Game 4 on Tuesday, April 23, at the Cuneta Astrodome.
"It's good to get the monkey off our backs in this series. We finally got a win. It's a quick turnaround and we got another game," Wright added. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.