Troy Rike is living his dream playing for Gilas Pilipinas.
The 6-foot-7 forward arrived in the Philippines last May 28 and is soaking in all the experiences that come with playing for the national team.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play here and play with a bunch of talented players and experience the Gilas program," he said after his practice.
His eagerness and excitement were in full display in the Gilas Cadets' 97-78 win over the Mapua Cardinals on Monday at the 12th Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup presented by Chooks-to-Go. The stretch big man tallied 11 points, including one three-pointer, and collected eight rebounds.
"It's all different being over here, but I'm just getting adjusted. Most of all, I'm having fun over," he shared after the game. "I feel like every game I play, I'm gonna get more and more accustomed to the Philippine style of basketball."
Even though he put up solid numbers, his enthusiasm might have gotten a little ahead of him as he was plagued with foul trouble for most of the contest.
"I have to know [that] what's a foul here is a little different than what's a foul in the States," the Wake Forest product pointed out. "So I think the more I play, the better I'll get used to that and I won't have that problem anymore."
Rike's game against Mapua was his first official game but he already participated in an exhibition match against Batang Gilas last Saturday. He was part of a six-man crew that defeated the younger Gilas team in preparation for the FIBA U17 World Cup. In both games, Rike played exceptionally well given the limited time he had with his new teammates.
"He's a great system player. He just follows the system," praised Cadet coach Jong Uichico. "He won't go away from the system, which is also what we need in this team because [the rest] are all high-caliber, supposedly superstar players, so you need someone who's a system player."
On a squad that features the elite in the amateur level, Rike might just be the perfect complement.
"I try to do little things. Help teammates out, give assist, just run when the coach tells me to run. I'm not here to get buckets or [to] prove anything," Rike proudly said. "I just want the team to win. That's the most important thing to me."
"It's an honor to play for Gilas Pilipinas," he added.
The dream continues for Troy Rike.