Amicable split: Wright leaves, Phoenix exercises rights option | Inquirer Sports
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Amicable split: Wright leaves, Phoenix exercises rights option

/ 05:15 AM September 01, 2022
Matthew Wright Phoenix PBA

Phoenix’s Mathew Wright shoots the ball against Converge in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA IMAGES

Phoenix management will adhere to the current free agent guidelines imposed by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) following the decision of Matthew Wright to leave the team for a likely stint overseas.

“As applicable to any player of the team, we shall abide with the existing policies of the PBA with regard to players opting to play abroad,” the team said in a statement after Wright announced his decision on Wednesday.

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The Fuel Masters are referring to the new rules crafted in July 2021 in reaction to a number of players—including those who have yet to join the draft—who signed for teams in Japan’s B.League.

In Wright’s case, Phoenix maintains its player rights for the next five seasons while the sweet-shooting wingman has the option to return to the PBA within the first two years of the sit-out period.

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Rumors of Wright’s departure have been brewing for months, with Japan’s B.League—where the likes of Ray Parks Jr., Kiefer Ravena and his younger brother Thirdy are playing—being his most likely destination.

“It has been an unforgettable [six] years with the [Fuel Masters],” Wright said on his Instagram account. “Thank you to all my coaches, teammates, ball boys and bosses for being a part of this chapter in my life.

“Most importantly, thank you to all the fans who have supported me through thick and thin. I love you all—papi,” the 31-year-old added.

Wright has been regarded as one of the best scorers since being selected by Phoenix in the special Gilas draft in 2016.

With Wright playing the lead role, the Fuel Masters made seven playoff appearances highlighted by a pair of semifinal finishes in the 2019 and 2020 Philippine Cup.

The 2020 version saw Wright placing second behind Barangay Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle in the Best Player of the Conference award while also being named to the Mythical Team.

“The team is saddened to see its longest tenured player go but at the same time grateful for all the blood, sweat, and tears he put into this franchise,” Phoenix said. “We know that he will keep the Phoenix flame burning within him wherever he may go.”

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TAGS: Basketball, Matthew Wright, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Phoenix
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