TROY Rike returns to his roots as he reinforces Pasig Chooks when it competes in the 2019 Fiba 3x3 Xiong An Challenger in China this weekend.
The Fil-Am center, who played for Basilan in the Patriot's Cup, replaces Taylor Statham for the tiff which serves as a qualifier for the Los Angeles Challenger from September 20 to 21.
Rike rekindles his partnership with Pasig, where he'll pair up once again with Joshua Munzon, Dylan Ababou and Serbian reinforcement Nikola Pavlovic.
"The team is gonna be a lot different without Taylor and missing him is a huge loss," said Rike. "Our style of play is going to have to be different without him, so we’ll put our best game plan out there and just do our best to compete without him."
Despite the changes, Pasig remains optimistic given the familiarity the team has with Rike.
"We have been together since January so we can easily make do with what we have," said Ababou.
Pasig is drawn in Pool C, where it will take on 3-seed Beijing at 5:40 p.m. on Friday before facing the winner of the qualifying draw, which will be the top seed among The Hague, Calgary, and Xiong An East, at 9:10 p.m.
"There's always pressure and it's normal," said Ababou, whose side is looking to make an impact after failing to progress to the knockout rounds after Pasig's fifth place finish in the Doha Masters.
"We are very hungry considering the fact that our team hasn’t proven anything yet in international tournaments."