MANILA, Philippines -- The unusual atmosphere of the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga is of no issue to Phoenix gunner Matthew Wright, who relishes the opportunity to focus on nothing but basketball for the coming months.
Following the model set by United States leagues, including the NBA, the PBA decided to hold its PBA Philippine Cup in a bubble, where teams are housed in one hotel while games will be played at a centralized venue, the Angeles University Foundation Gym.
For the players, the coaches, and other members of the PBA delegation inside the bubble, it is quite the sacrifice as they will be away from their families for at least two months, while the league proceeds with the conference.
"It's tough, being away from family," Wright acknowledged during a televised post-game interview on Monday night. "But I know I can't make any excuses. Everybody's going through the same thing that I'm going through."
"Most of the players have kids, and spouses and girlfriends, moms and dads whom they wish could be here," he noted.
At the same time, Wright feels comfortable inside the bubble. He believes it will be a "good environment" for the players as they can focus on basketball 24/7, after having missed the sport that they love for the better part of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I feel like if you truly love this game and you're a real hooper, this is the perfect atmosphere," he said.
"We play every two or three days. If you have a good game, you can stay in rhythm. If you have a bad game, you can make bawi very quickly," he explained.
For Wright, the bubble atmosphere is similar to the AAU tournaments of his youth, where their club team would play several games in just one weekend.
"I'm just trying to go back in time and channel my young self and treat it like that," he added.
Wright and the rest of the Fuel Masters got their campaign off to a strong start on Monday night, as they routed Meralco, 116-98. Wright had 36 points in the victory.
"I hope we set the tone for the rest of the bubble," said the Phoenix sharpshooter.