MANILA, Philippines—Troy Rike continues to make the ultimate sacrifice for whatever team he plays for.
The 6-foot-8 big man, who has played in every game of the Pasig Kings in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup and Asia Pacific Super Quest, will not be part of the team that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Tour Masters Doha from April 18 to 19.
Replacing him is former top-ranked French 3x3 cager Angelo Tsakaragis. Comprising the rest of Pasig are Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, and Serbian import Nikola Pavlovic.
Rike was admittedly hurt by the decision, but nevertheless accepted it for the sake of the squad that qualified for the global meet after winning the President's Cup last April 7.
"I mean, I'm not going to lie. You always want to play as a basketball player but what I care about the most is I want the team to be successful," shared the 23-year-old, who is currently the Philippines' no. 3 player in 3x3.
"Angelo has the experience and knows a lot about the 3x3 game. He has been in the World Tour. For me, I'm just going to know my role and help the team get ready for it. I'll stay ready," he added as the 34-year-old Tsagarakis has already played in numerous World Tours and Challengers.
"The most important thing for me is the team wins and I'm ready to live with that."
This also serves as further motivation for Rike, as the intends to prove his doubters wrong.
"You always want to be out there to represent the country. But I would like to think that I always have that drive," he said. "I'm always trying to improve myself as a basketball player. It's not going to change what I'm doing.
"I'm still going to work hard in practice and work hard on my own to be the best basketball player that I can be. That's all I can control."
Rike will still join the Pasig team in Doha, and vows to be the Kings' biggest cheerleader when they take on home team Katara on Thursday at 10:50 p.m. (Manila time) and, later on, top club in the world Liman at 12:25 a.m.
"You know, in Wake Forest and in Gilas, I proved that I'm a skilled cheerleader too," he quipped. "Whatever it takes to cheer these guys, talking to them.
"I've learned from Dylan [Ababou] that there's so many things you can do even if you are not on the court. So, whatever they need, guidance, support, water bottles, I'll be there."
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