Wright rues absence of "sixth man" in Gilas-Qatar game

Matt Wright said that he will miss the Gilas fans a lot. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Matt Wright will have to deal with a very quiet environment at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in his return game as Gilas Pilipinas takes on Qatar on Monday night behind closed doors.

Wright served a one-game suspension for his part in the July 2 brawl between Gilas and Australia, while the closed-door clause in the Gilas-Qatar game is also part of the sanctions slapped by FIBA on Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for the said melee.

While he gears up for his national team return, Wright said that he will miss the noisy Gilas faithfuls a lot at the stands.

"We have the best fans. That's usually our sixth man. They get behind us and rally us when we're a little flat," the Phoenix guard said about the Gilas fans on Sunday night.

With the said arena closed to the general public for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers game, Wright said he and his teammates must have their basketball IQ's ready for what he thinks "is a do-or-die" affair.

"We're just gonna have to dig deep down internally and trust and rely on each other to compensate for the lack of audience," he further said. "We need to win this game in order for us to have a fight for China, so we're approaching this game with a lot of seriousness and we have a game plan that we think will be effective in this game."

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