For a young stalwart, Troy Rike has a long list of international experience on his resume.
The 6-foot-8 Filipino-American played in Wake Forest for four years; served as a replacement for Gilas Pilipinas during the second window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers; and was part of the Mighty Sports team that played in the 2019 Dubai Basketball Championship.
But for Rike, playing for Pasig Chooks-to-Go in the 2019 FIBA 3X3 Kunshan Challenger is the most pressure-packed tournament he will figure in so far in his career.
“It’s big. I think this is gonna be the most responsibility and most pressure on me [that] I’ve had traveling outside the country and playing internationally,” shared Rike.
“So to have that, it’s what I dream about.”
Rike reunites with Dylan Ababou, Joshua Munzon, and Taylor Statham for the level nine-FIBA 3×3 tourney. The quartet won the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup.
And it is this shared experience between the four that will help them in Kunshan, according to the 23-year-old.
“We played a whole season together and we won a championship. I’ll make the argument that we have the best chemistry as our team has had since we’ve also been competing internationally. We’ve been practicing hard as well,” Rike said.
“Obviously, there’s still a little rust but I think we got our swagger back.”
Pasig though will figure in a tough pool in the Group Stages of this qualifier for the Chengdu Masters.
Rike and Pasig will face Russian club Sosnovy first at 5:55 pm. They then take on a familiar foe in Liman of Serbia at 7:40 pm.
During the Doha Masters, Pasig stunned Liman, 19-16.
Seeing Liman up close in Qatar, Rike knows that they can score another upset of the Serbian powerhouse in China even if they are without imports Nikola Pavlovic and Angelo Tsagarakis.
“I saw them up close and personal in Doha. These guys beat them last time so we are entering with the mindset that we can beat them again,” he opined.
“For me and Dylan, we are the new guys. We know that if we focus on what we need to do, we can beat them as well.”