TROY Rike might have come from a respectable program in the US after playing Division I basketball with Wake Forest for four years, but that doesn’t mean he’ll have no trouble adjusting to the Philippine brand of play.
The 6-foot-6 stretch forward had a decent debut in a Gilas Pilipinas jersey in their 97-78 win over Mapua in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup on Monday, but it was obvious that he can still be so much better.
Rike finished with 11 points and eight rebounds in a foul-plagued debut and he admitted that he’s still trying to adapt to the Philippine style of basketball.
“It's all different being over here, but I'm just getting adjusted. Most of all, I'm having fun over [here]. I feel like every game I play, I'm gonna get more and more accustomed to the Philippine style of basketball,” Rike said.
“I have to know what's a foul here is a little different than what's a foul in the States. So I think the more I play, the better I'll get used to that and I won't have that problem anymore,” he added.
Rike got praises from head coach Jong Uichico, who feels the Fil-Am forward is perfect for a cadets pool that is filled with collegiate stars and ball-dominant players.
“He’s a great system player. He just follows the system,” said Uichico.
“He won’t go away from the system, which is also what we need in this team because [the rest] are all high-caliber, supposedly superstar players, so you need someone who’s a system player,” he added.
It’s something that Rike certainly takes pride in.
“I try to do little things: help teammates out, give assists, just run when the coach tells me to run. I'm not here to get buckets or prove anything. I just want the team to win. That's the most important thing to me,” he added.
The best is yet to come for Rike, who is filled with excitement over the thought of being one of the cornerstones of the Gilas program in the future.
“It’s an honor to play for Gilas Pilipinas.”