Rike out to prove he belongs


    WHERE are the best players in the Philippines?

    With that in mind, former National University Fil-Am center Troy Rike decided to join the pro league draft to prove he belongs in the big league.

    “I felt it was time. I really wanted to challenge myself at the top level,” Rike said in an episode of Tiebreaker Times’ The Prospects Pod.

    “No matter what, the PBA is the top league in the country, that’s where the top talent is,” he added.

    The 6-foot-8 Rike averaged 6.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his short-lived lone season for the Bulldogs in 2018.

    A “one-and-done” player, Rike suited up for Wake Forest University in the US NCAA Division I before he was recruited as a Gilas Pilipinas cadet.

    After his stint with the Sampaloc-based five, Rike toughened up in the 3×3 circuit.

    The No. 5 FIBA 3×3 player in the country, Rike, 25, won a title with Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City in the maiden season of the Chooks-to-Go tilt in October last year and saw action in the Doha World Tour Masters last November.

    He is convinced he is ready for the pros.

    “For me to challenge myself to keep improving and to have the best experience and see what I can do. It felt right,” Rike said. “I really do feel like physically and mentally ready and prepared to enter the PBA so it’s the perfect time for me.”

    Rike vowed to do whatever the team that picks him needs him to do.

    “If you wanna bring someone in who’s gonna help you win basketball games I feel I’m that guy. If you need to stretch the floor, guard fives, even in 3×3 I worked on guarding guards and was able to do it adequately, something I continue to work on, rebound, do the little things, shoot, not cause any issues,” he said.

    “I’m just gonna play hard and play winning basketball so whatever you need me to do I think I can do it and I’m gonna give it my all 100 percent too. I think I can bring it to the table.”