NATIONAL University big man Troy Rike cried foul on Sunday afternoon, saying one of University of Santo Tomas' players 'kneed my knee' during the Bulldogs' 69-61 win in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament.
Rike finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists to help the Bulldogs improve to 3-6 (win-loss) but he lamented that he was at the receiving end of cheap shots during the physical match at The Arena in San Juan.
“I have no problem with the physicality, be physical. At Wake Forest, guarding June Mar (Fajardo), guarding Japeth (Aguilar), it's my job everyday to be physical. Be physical and look me in the eye. Trust me, I won't like it,” the one-and-done player of NU said.
“I'll be honest, I'm not even complaining but hit me in my chest, don't go after my knees. That's how I hope to make a living one day.”
“You know what I mean? You look me in the eyes, you have a problem with me, hey that is what it is. But the extra stuff, the elbow in the free throw or going after someone's knees, there's no need for that."
The former US NCAA player declined to name names, although Tigers big men Henric Caunan, Germy Mahinay, Zachy Huang and Ira Bataller alternated in defending him after the game.
“I don't want to go around and call people dirty and go after anyone's names. But maybe it is something that I have to get used to but like I said, I don't like that,” the 6-foot-7 Fil-American forward.
“You can be physical but don't be sneaky, like sneaky stuff. That's why I got so mad because he kneed my knee. That's how I hope to provide a living for my family one day. You can't do that.”
“I just got to be honest because I don't like that cause it is not just me. It's other people too. Like I said, physical, Filipino stye of basketball, be physical, that's great, but the other stuff, I don't like that,” he added.
UST coach Aldin Ayo said Rike's accusation was unfair.
“That’s unfair kasi kami nakaka-receive din ng ganyan eh. Kaya ayaw ko mag-recruit ng Fil-Ams eh, except for Fil-Ams na kung maglaro parang Pinoy,” Ayo said.
“Kaya gusto ko mga Bisaya e, gusto ko mga nandun sa south and gusto ko rin yung mga coming from Manila, yung mga ugaling Pinoy na resilient. Depende din sa kultura yan e so halos fair naman kami ganun din eh.”
Ayo made it clear he and his coaching staff are not telling their players to cross the line when it comes to physicality.
“Kami we never teach players to be rough, everything that we’re doing is within the bounds of basketball rules so I think that’s unfair,” he added.