Just like any other player representing their own country in the world stage, Filipino-American Troy Rike is nothing but honored, as his dreams of donning the Philippines’ colors has taken a headstart on Monday.
The 6-foot-7 forward arrived in the country Monday morning, and immediately suited up for the Gilas Cadets’ practice in the evening at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City despite having just little rest from his flight.
“I arrived like eight ‘o clock [Monday] morning. Took a nap, caught up a little sleep, woke up and then came here basically. Not in the best condition I could’ve been, but it feels so good to get out here and practice,” said Rike after practice.
“It’s a lot different here. But it’s always been a dream of mine to play here and play with a bunch of talented players and experience the Gilas program. It’s been great now, so I feel like we did some good stuff today.”
Rike is one-third of the US-based Filipino-Americans — along with Remy Martin and Dwight Ramos — that was included in Gilas’ 23 for 2023 pool. Among the three Division 1 cagers, the product of Wake Forest University is the oldest at 22 years.
Eyebrows raised when their names were on the list tweeted by Gilas head coach Chot Reyes last January as they weren’t that familiar to the local scene. But for Rike, he was extremely honored to see his name be part of something huge.
“It was an honor. Like I said, it’s always been a dream of mine to represent the Philippines, to represent my country. I know I have a lot of work to do, but seeing that I kinda made that first step was really great,” Rike expressed.
“I was really happy to see that (list).”
Rike now has his first Gilas experience in the books. Even though he has spent mere hours with his new team, Rike has spoken highly of them — he has sharesd the court with the likes of Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, and Kai Sotto on Monday.
“The level of play is really high. The guys here are really talented,” said the California-born Rike, who is a nephew of Senator Antonio Trillanes. “I played in a D1 program, and there’s no drop over here of great players.
“In terms of working on, like I said, I think everyone knows we got a lot of talent over here, we just have to work together. I know it’s my first time here… So if we keep practicing, we’ll be fine as long as we share the ball and do everything,” he furthered.
“There’s more than enough talent, size, athleticism here to get some wins.”
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