UAAP: Lone NU season for Troy Rike could launch successful hoops career in PH

It will be just for a year. But if Troy Rike does well, it could be the start of a successful basketball career in the Philippines.

In a video that was posted on his Twitter account, the Filipino-American announced his inclusion to the NU Bulldogs for UAAP Season 81.

The former Wake Forest player arrived in the Philippines in May this year and was only able one game for the Gilas cadets during the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup. Though he was plagued with foul trouble in 16 minutes of play, he contributed 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and a block in a win over the Mapua Cardinals.

His only year under coach Jamike Jarin will serve as an audition for loftier basketball aspirations. He only played 31 minutes and scored a total of 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his four-year US NCAA Division I career, so there isn’t much available footage to thoroughly evaluate his game. In the only game that he started (against Notre Dame), he only had one missed three pointer and nothing else.

Rike will have to prove his worth in a talent-laden NU squad that will parade Issa Gaye, Matthew Aquino, Shaun Ildefonso, Shane Menina, and Robert Minerva in the frontcourt. But given his height and his soft touch from the perimeter, the California native will be a gem for the Bulldogs next season. Rike and Gaye will form a menacing twin tower combination that can gobble baskets in the paint and swat opponent’s attempts away.

Playing in NU will also help him adjust to the Filipino style of playing basketball and build his in-game mental fortitude especially during close-game situations.

If he does well in his only year in the UAAP, scouts in the pro ranks will start to take notice. A little seasoning from the D-League will also make him a highly coveted draft prospect in the PBA.

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