MANILA, Philippines – By his lonesome, Matthew Wright made more three-pointers than the entire Vietnam squad in Gilas Pilipinas' 107-52 victory on Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Wright needed only nine shots to score 19 points, as he made five of seven three-pointers and both of his two-point field goals. His highly efficient output came in just 15 minutes of action as Gilas moved to 5-0 in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship.
Vietnam, as a team, made only four out of 15 3-point attempts. The visitors' zone defense was broken in the first quarter, when Wright casually drained two from behind the arc.
After the game, Wright only shrugged off his performance. "Nothing really to say," he said. "My teammates found me, and I hit some open shots."
"They played a zone defense, and that's how you beat a zone – you make shots," he added.
Wright stressed that his superb shooting against Vietnam was a result of his teammates' efforts. Gilas Pilipinas registered 27 assists on the night, several of which came off kick-outs to open shooters that Vietnam could not stop.
"Those guys make my job easier, Terrence (Romeo) and Jayson (Castro) especially today," Wright said.
"They found me, they hit me in stride, they hit me in momentum. Having great passes like that makes my job easier, so I can't take all the credit," he added. "Those guys definitely put me in good positions."
Through five games, Wright has been averaging 12.6 points per game, second in the team only to Calvin Abueva. He has been shooting 50% from the field, including a ridiculous 55.6% from beyond the arc.
For Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, Wright is simply fulfilling the job that he has for Gilas, as is fellow gunner Allein Maliksi. The true test for them, the coach said, comes on Thursday against Indonesia, when Gilas guns for the gold and a spot in the FIBA Asia Cup.
"The key for them is consistency. Can they shoot the same way tomorrow, when there are much greater stakes, when there is a much tougher and much bigger opponent?" he said.
"That's the key. We'll see how far he's come, how far our guys have come by the way they're going to play tomorrow."
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