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OKINAWA, Japan – Despite playing professionally thousands of miles away in the Land of the Rising Sun, former Phoenix Fuel Masters star Matthew Wright continues to keep tabs on his former team.
The Fuel Masters have been one of the hottest teams in the PBA and Wright is pleased to see them succeed.
“I love it. A part of me is still Phoenix. I gave six years of my life with them and I still keep in touch with them,” Wright told Rappler during a media briefing organized by the Japan B. League here.
“I was in the trenches with those guys for a long time so it’s just hard to forget about your team and just leave. I still keep in contact with them,” he added.
Wright played for Phoenix from 2016 to 2022, earning a spot in the Elite Five, a pair of Mythical Second Team honors, and two All-Star Game MVP plums before he parted ways with the squad to sign with the Kyoto Hannaryz.
The Filipino-Canadian guard became the fastest Filipino player to breach the 1,000-point mark in the B. League, taking just 80 games to reach the milestone.
Unlike the Fuel Masters, though, the Hannaryz have been struggling as they sit at 20th place with an 8-20 record.
Even if he is not part of the team anymore, Wright feels proud to have helped lay the groundwork for Phoenix.
“I’m very proud of that organization because I tried my absolute best. [They were] nothing when I first came into the team, one of the worst teams,” said Wright, who scored 8 points in the Asia All-Stars’ 127-115 win against the Rising Stars during the B. League All-Star Weekend at the Okinawa Arena on Saturday, January 13.
“Trying to build something, trying to build a fanbase like Phoenix. I’m very happy to see that.”
It goes beyond basketball for Wright and his former PBA teammates as they get together whenever he visits Manila.
“Our kids play with each other. It’s deeper than just sports,” he said. – Rappler.com