After Franky Johnson knocked down the million-peso shot in the finale of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Patriot’s Cup presented by Coca-Cola, Troy Rike was full of emotion.
“It’s amazing. I tried to keep my mouth shut the whole time,” confessed the 23-year-old big man.
Back in the President’s Cup, the 6-foot-8 big man out of California was playing for the then-Pasig-Grindhouse Kings. But since the second conference is an import-laden tournament, Rike ended up as the ‘fifth man’ of the squad.
“I love Pasig, but coming back and being told, ‘You’re not on the team. There’s no room’, then coming back and winning the championship… I’m not gonna lie – I’m not a personal guy, but this means a lot to me.
There’s a lot of adversity I went through,” he disclosed.
Unlike in the stacked Kings squad, Rike has been showcased more with the Steel. He has become more aggressive on offense while still displaying the same hustle on defense.
For Rike, playing with the likes of Franky Johnson, Roosevelt Adams, and Marcus Hammonds has been a treat, since all of them were hungry to prove something.
“The biggest thing is, I think we all bought in and trusted one another. The whole team trusted one another and played really well together. They’re [Pasig] talented, we’re talented. We’re each better at different things, but we all trusted each other,” said Rike.
“We’re brothers and I believed in them, they believed in me. I think that’s the biggest difference for us.”
His veteran wares were on full show in the Million Peso Game.
Down by one in the race-to-two overtime, Rike remained cool, calm, and collected. He made an excellent hand-off to Johnson and set a screen on Karl Dehesa at the same time. That small amount of space freed up Johnson for the game-winner to lift Basilan to the top.
With this, Rike is now a two-time champion in the young history of the country’s first-ever 3×3 league. And he hopes that he can continue growing in this sport.
“I gotta lot of work to do. I thought that for a second, but then I saw an image of [Dusan] Bulut in the 2011 World Cup. I was like, ‘Oh my God, he’s been playing 3×3 for nine years’. But honestly, in the Philippines, I really do think I can bring some veteran leadership to whatever team I’m on,” he opined.
“And as Philippine 3×3 keeps improving, I hope I can be a part of that and bring some veteran leadership to that.”
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