Wright, Phoenix brace for tough semis mission vs TNT

Published November 17, 2020, 4:36 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Matthew Wright of Phoenix believes TNT has a lot of weapons, and one of them is Ray Parks Jr. (PBA Images)

Matthew Wright said TNT will pose big problems for Phoenix Super LPG by the time their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal showdown starts Wednesday afternoon.

Wright, whose three-pointer gave Phoenix a narrow quarterfinal win over Magnolia, said the team will need to be on its toes in order to beat TNT and advance to the franchise’s first finals appearance in the pro circuit.

“They really have a lot of weapons, you have to pick your poison,” Wright said during Monday’s episode of Sports Page on One Sports.

The leader in the Statistical Points race mentioned Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Ray Parks Jr. as the players the Fuel Masters are expecting a hard time to deal. But of the three, Wright said Castro is perhaps the one who’ll run the Tropang Giga motor.

Castro did that quietly in the eliminations as Pogoy, Parks, Poy Erram and Troy Rosario shared the spotlight. Despite that, the Gilas Pilipinas veteran was seventh in Statistical Points after averaging 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.7 steals in nine elimination round appearances.

“We have to reel in Jayson because he’s like the catalyst. He’s the one that puts them in good spots to succeed,” said Wright.

But that doesn’t mean that Phoenix is already behind the eight-ball even before the series has started.

Wright has enough confidence in his teammates like Jason Perkins, Justin Chua and Calvin Abueva, who were also key in Phoenix’s success under new coach Topex Robinson.

Perkins is third in the SP derby, Abueva has played the usual energy minus the antics since his reinstatement and Chua became the PBA’s top blocker with an average of 1.7 per contest.

“When in games where I’m struggling to score, or when the defense is really keyed on me and they try to double or trap on ball screens, Jason is the one who puts the team on his back,” Wright said of Perkins, who he calls as a “huge revelation for us this conference.”

“Justin Chua is leading the league in blocks, he shoots 40 percent from three. That’s not a weakness to me,” Wright said of Chua. “The way that basketball has been going, the trend is the center position is starting to die off and everyone has to adapt now.

Whatever we lack in size, we have Calvin to grab the rebounds for us. I think we’ve been known for being a small team but we have big wings, long wings, athletic wings to make up for that,” he added.