ANTIPOLO – Ever since his days as a Juniors stud, La Salle’s Mark Dyke always had to overcome physicality and some harsh remarks from opponents who are trying to throw him off his game.
That’s why when faced with the same situation against University of Santo Tomas, Dyke knew exactly what he was gonna do.
Dyke fed off the energy of his defenders and used it to his advantage, playing his best game in a Green Archers uniform in their 110-69 win over the Growling Tigers on Saturday at the Ynares Center.
“Nanggaling lang naman yung energy ko sa kalaban eh kasi tina-trash talk nila ako kasi yun ang pinaka-ayaw kong nangyayari sa akin, kaya naging aggressive na ako dahil ang pangttrash talk nila,” said Dyke who shared that some of the remarks handed to him were racist remarks.
“First quarter palang pinipisikal na ako, kaya ayun, ganun nalang yung naging outcome ng game dahil sa kanila lang,” he added. “Medyo racist e, kaya ayun, tiyaka pinipisikal talaga ako e kaya ganun.”
The 6-foot-3 forward rose above all of that as he finished with a career-best 16 points on 5-8 shooting to go along with six boards.
He also made both of his three-pointers, proving that he’s more than just an undersized banger as he looked confident playing both forward position for coach Louie Gonzalez.
“Mindset ko lang pag ganun ang ginagawa sa akin, ipapakita ko lang sa game. Mas magiging aggressive ako, ayun lang lagi kong ginagawa since high school,” said Dyke who starred and won a title with Jeff Napa’s National University Bullpups back in high school.
“Since high school naman naeexperience ko na yun, so alam ko na yung gagawin ko pag ganun,” he added.
Dyke is experiencing a career-resurgence of sorts after being kept on the shelf since taking the jump to La Salle.
Once one of the most highly touted recruits out of high school, Dyke struggled to find minutes with La Salle under, co-incidentally, Aldin Ayo who’s now the coach of UST.
After being lost in the rotation, Dyke left the team for a year in a time which he almost gave up on basketball.
“Mas organized ang team namin ngayon. Dati kasi parang kaunti lang yung rotation namin, pero ngayon lahat nakakalaro so lahat nabibigyan ng break,” shared Dyke.
“Personally mas masaya ako, kasi dati, nawala confidence ko, sabi ko sa sarili ko after nito baka di na ako maglaro ng basketball. Ayun si coach Louie tinawagan ako, binigyan niya ako ng opportunity, tinry ko ulit, buti magandang outcome,” he added.
That’s why he’s just thankful for the trust that Gonzalez gives him, something that he vows to repay.
“Masasabi kong ganun, na (si coach Louie) ang nagbigay ng buhay sakin na maglaro ulit ng basketball. Lagi niyang sinasabi na kahit anong mangyari wag titigil dahil bata pa ako at marami pang pwedeng matutunan, at kung may chance kunin ko lang.“