Gilas’ Wright: ‘I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for RP Youth’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 16, 2017 03:02 PM
Wright: ‘I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for RP Youth'
LOOK BACK. Matthew Wright has nothing but fond memories of his time for the national youth basketball team.

Matthew Wright is one of those now making his name known as a key cog for Gilas Pilipinas.

The 26-year-old, along with Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo, has been holding down the backcourt for the Philippines as it tries to extend its reign in the 2017 SEABA Championship.

Not many are aware, however, that this is not the first time Wright is wearing the flag.
“I was part of (RP Youth Team) back in 2008,” he shared.

The Filipino-Canadian was talking about the national youth basketball team where he teamed up with the likes of Sam Marata and Norbert Torres and was coached by Franz Pumaren.

For Wright, that experience was the turning point in his basketball career. As he put it, “That was the first time I actually played for something bigger than myself – bigger than a school team, bigger than a club team. That was the first time I actually had to be selfless.”

He then furthered, “My whole life, I’ve been trying to be the best to get to the next level. RP Youth was the first time I really felt pride in being Filipino.”

And while no championship came for the stellar swingman and his teammates then, it still pushed him forward towards his PBA dream. “If it weren’t for the RP Youth stint, I don’t know if I would be here right now,” he expressed.

The RP Youth Team has since been rechristened as Batang Gilas and in its latest campaign in the SEABA Under-16 Championship, Wright was now one of its supporters. “These kids are promising. I hope they continue to develop and, most importantly, stay healthy,” he said as he and the Gilas kuyas cheered on their little brothers last Monday.

Troy Rosario, who also played for the RP Youth Team in 2010, was just as glad to see the future of Philippine basketball was doing well. “Nakikita ko yung sarili ko nung unang laro ko sa national team. Ganyan na ganyan – payat na payat, ‘di pa masyadong marunong,” he said

He then continued, “Pero etong (Batang Gilas) natin, grave na yung skills e. Iba talaga yung in-improve ng Philippine basketball.”

That is exactly why all of Gilas is coming out of its way to help out its little brothers.

“Malaking tulong kasi na nakikita mo yung seniors mo na nanonood sayo. Naaalala ko dati, nanonood yung mga PBA at college players tapos siyempre pag nakita mo sila, nagkakaroon ka ng confidence,” he shared.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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