The 6-foot-4 Fil-Canadian sniper played 37 minutes in the Fuel Masters’ dominant 89-66 win over the FiberXers. He produced 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Matthew Wright poured his heart out when Phoenix Super LPG took on Converge, Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Though the game is Phoenix’s penultimate game in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup elimination round, it is Wright’s last as a Fuel Master.
“It’s a way to honor Matt playing his final game for us,” said Phoenix head coach Topex Robinson about playing Wright up until the closing seconds of the game.
Wright will miss Phoenix’s crucial game against Ginebra on Thursday, since he will wed long-time partner Gabriella Rosa on the 24th in New York.
Wright will leave the country tonight.
It’s an open secret that Wright and Phoenix have yet to come to terms regarding a contract extension.
If the Fuel Masters, who sit on a 3-7 record, cannot upset Ginebra on Thursday, they will have to wait until September for the Commissioner’s Cup.
Wright’s contract, meanwhile, ends on August 31. And him heading to the B.League has gained steam over the past few months.
“We only focus on what we have control of. We are going to play our hearts out against a champion team like Ginebra. Whatever the result is there, we are just going to keep moving forward,” said Robinson.
If this was the end for Wright in the PBA, it was a good six-year run.
The 31-year-old gunslinger – whom Phoenix drafted back in the 2016 PBA Gilas draft – was a two-time All-Star MVP, a one-time Mythical First Team member, and a PBA Co-Order of Merit awardee.
Wright stuck around and went on to finish two more PBA conferences: the Governors’ Cup last season and the Philippine Cup this season.
However, with his contract with Phoenix expiring in August, Wright said there is a possibility that he would part ways with the team that sees him as its franchise player.
“I’m leaning towards looking at other options. That is all I’m going to stay,” he said.
Also, a change in scenery.
Wright also considers playing for other PBA teams.
“I just feel like I need something new and a new change of scenery from Phoenix. No disrespect whatsoever to the organization. It has been a great organization, class act since I got to the league,” he said.
“It has been a great run, great people there from the management all the way down to the ball boys. I’m very thankful that Phoenix drafted me seven years ago.”
Wright and the Fuel Masters almost reached the finals for the first time in franchise history as they went the distance with TNT in the semifinals of the 2020 Philippine Cup only to fall short.
It has not been the same for Phoenix since, with the squad suffering a pair of quarter final exit in the two conferences that followed.
The Fuel Masters are on the brink of missing the playoffs this conference as they tote a 3-7 card.
“I think at this juncture of my career, it is about building your legacy. I want to win. I feel like we were right there with Phoenix. We were right on the brink,” Wright said.
“But things happen that are out of our control, which is how it goes with some teams in certain leagues. You have a little window of opportunity where you can be successful, we had our window, we had our chances, we had our shots.”
For Wright, though, basketball is not just about personal accolades.
“I’m trying not to look at success from wins and losses and championships,” Wright said.
“I’m trying to think of success as how many people I’ve affected possibly, how many kids want to play like me, how many people I can get in front of a TV screen, how many families I can get to watch a live game.”
“Those are the things that are hard to quantify but those mean way more than any Mythical [selection], MVP, and championship trophy.”
Wright told reporters that he will decide on his future after his wedding.