Troy Rike admitted that there was an extra push for him when NorthPort took on Phoenix Super LPG, Wednesday.
Over at the other side of the court was coach Jamike Jarin, one of the first few people who guided him as he sought to acclimatize with local hoops.
The Wake Forest product played under the veteran mentor during his one-and-done stint with National University in UAAP Season 81. It wasn’t an ideal run since they missed the Final Four, but a firm relationship was forged.
“There was definitely a little added motivation just in the sense I have a good relationship with Coach Jamike,” the 25-year-old shared to Tiebreaker Times.
“He did a lot for me.”
Such reflected on the court. Rike turned in a fiery performance, going 6-of-7 from deep on his way to 20 points as he helped the Batang Pier to a dominant 115-79 victory for their win in the 2021 Philippine Cup.
“I just tried to get my shots with the flow of the offense,” he said of his outing that also saw him collect eight rebounds, three blocks, and two assists. “When they come to me, I just told myself, ‘Be confident and shoot it.’
“Not every game you’re gonna hit every shot, but I just felt today I got hot. I was just shooting the shots that came to me, and they happened to go in.”
Asked about his exceptional shooting from beyond the arc, Rike said that playing 3×3 for a while helped.
“I think 3×3 helped a little bit with my confidence with shooting. You know in 3×3, there’s really no such thing as a bad 2, if you have an open look, you have to take it,” said one of the country’s top-ranked 3×3 players.
“So, I definitely got a lot of practice,” added the former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 star. “But, you know, I always felt I was a shooter. That’s always been part of my game, but 3×3 definitely helped prepare me for the next level.
“Shoutout to the guys at Chooks.”
Now that the Batang Pier have broken through in the conference, Rike is looking to help his side win more in an aim to reach the playoffs. The team failed to do that last season after going 1-10 in the bubble.
“The goal for this season is just to win games,” he said. “And, you know, just be the best team we can be, however I can contribute. Anyone that knows me knows that’s all I care about. All I care about is the team winning.
“So no matter what my role is, if I score some points like today, that’s great; but if there’s another time where someone else is hot, that’s totally fine with me. I just want the team to win.”
And Coach Jamike?
“It was good to see him again, definitely. It was nice to say hi to him after the game.”