Guiao has Wright reason to be upbeat
Antoine Wright played his first PBA game on Sunday practically “out of the airplane,” as Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao put it.
Coming from a rare breed of imports that has ever laced them up here, Wright is keeping his job with the Elasto Painters at the moment, according to Guiao.
Wright is a legitimate first-round NBA Draft pick, the 15th overall choice by the New Jersey Nets in the 2005 proceedings where Andrew Bogut, the Australian center, was selected first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.
First-rounders coming to play in the PBA is not an ordinary thing, and many of Wright’s predecessors led their respective teams to conference championships.
Superstar point guard Chris Paul was also in Wright’s class, chosen fourth by the New Orleans Hornets with Deron Williams tabbed just a spot ahead of him by the Utah Jazz.
Selected way below Wright in that batch were the likes of Danny Granger, Gerald Green, Nate Robinson, Jarrett Jack and a name very familiar to Filipino fans—naturalized Gilas Pilipinas center Andray Blatche, the 49th overall pick by the Washington Wizards.
Dennis Hopson, who played just a game for Purefoods under Chot Reyes before getting injured, was the highest Draft selection to ever play in the PBA. He was chosen third overall, also by the rebuilding Nets in 1987.
Al Thornton of NLEX was picked 14th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers and eventually made the 2007 NBA All-Rookie Team along with the likes of Luis Scola, Al Harford, Jeff Green and the great Kevin Durant.
Wright replaced the injured Wayne Chism, posting 16 points and eight rebounds in a 28-minute stint that failed to help the Painters avert a 103-92 loss to Barangay Ginebra.
“He just stepped out of the airplane and hasn’t had any sleep so that’s not really the best we could see of him,” Guiao said. “But he (Wright) is promising. If we can get a few days with him in practice, to know his teammates, to know the system, we’ll be better.”
Wright, who finished a five-year NBA career with 5.4 points, 23 rebounds and one assist, is primarily a guard who was drafted by the Nets for his outside shooting.