La Salle forward Mark Dyke was a vital cog in the Archers' 110-69 drubbing of the UST Growling Tigers on Saturday.
Dyke was the second-leading scorer in the lopsided contest as he tallied a personal best 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including two triples, and added six rebounds. Without question, it was his best game in the collegiate ranks.
And the motivation that fueled his breakout performance came from an unlikely source.
"My energy came from my opponents because they were trash-talking me," Dyke said in Filipino. "Because that's what I hate the most. That's why I was aggressive because they kept talking trash."
The undersized big man was placed in the starting lineup and was pitted against the Tigers' daunting frontcourt. "First quarter, they were already playing physical," he shared." Then that was it, that was the outcome of the game, it's because of them."
Dyke also admitted that the trash-talking might have gone overboard with a few racist remarks that went his way. "It's a bit racist," he opened up. "And they were really playing physical."
Instead of fighting fire with fire and retorting with his own trash-talking, he let his game speak for him.
"My mindset when that happens to me, I just let my game show. I get more aggressive. That's what I've been doing since high school," Dyke said. "Since high school, I've experienced that so I know what to do."
And for Dyke, who's had a rough going the past three years, his breakout game was a long time coming. After being one of the most touted players out of high school back in 2015, he was left out of the spotlight in the coming seasons. He played sparingly in Season 79 after serving his residency the year before. Come Season 80, he momentarily left the school and pondered whether or not he should still continue to play.
His big break came in the offseason when he was called up by head coach Louie Gonzalez. La Salle wouldn't quit on him just yet and he decided to give his school another try.
"Personally, I'm happier now. Because before, I lost my confidence," he shared. "I told myself that after this, I might not even play basketball anymore. Coach Louie called me, he gave me an opportunity. I tried again. Good thing, the outcome has been great."
Gonzalez's trust and confidence gave Dyke a second chance to play the game.
"I can say that (coach Louie) gave me life to play basketball again. He always tells me no matter what happens, I shouldn't stop because I'm still young and that I still have a lot to learn. And if there's a chance, I should take it."
Despite having a rocky start to his collegiate career and nearly quitting, Mark Dyke persevered. And on Saturday, he used his every bit of motivation at his disposal and played his best game so far.