Troy Rike wants nothing more than to chase a basketball career here in the Philippines.
He reiterated that point yesterday as he suited up for National University a day after revealing that he was detained by the Bureau of Immigration almost two weeks ago.
“It’s tough. It’s been stressful since August, really. It’s been quite the process. I definitely felt it in the Ateneo game. Today, it was a little bit better. I was just happy to play basketball. That’s all I wanna do,” Rike told media after the game.
Rike, whose mother is a Filipina, went on air with CNN’s Pauline Versoza and bared that he was arrested by immigration officials after the team’s win over La Salle last September 19 due to questions regarding his citizenship.
He spent the night in BI’s headquarters in Pasay and was only released after providing the necessary documents certifying that he is indeed a dual citizen.
“It’ll be a while till it’s 100% completely off but my entire life, I found joy and love in the game of basketball so when I’m out there, I just try to focus on it,” he said.
This wasn’t the first time that Rike’s citizenship was questioned. Before Season 81 started, he was declared ineligible by the UAAP board and was only allowed to play for NU after getting clearance days before the team’s opening game.
“I believe they said ‘the public,’ that was their answer,” Rike said when asked whether he knew who might have accused him. “That’s kind of a dangerous precedent if they can report people and get them arrested, but that’s what they said.”
“I don’t believe that’s normal, but I’m not in the government, I don’t know the laws so. I just wanna play basketball,” he continued.
The 6-foot-7 forward out of Wake Forest logged eight points and 11 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ loss against Adamson on Saturday in San Juan. Rike credited his team for sticking with him and said that he wants to put this all behind him.
“Everyone’s been very supportive. I can’t thank my teammates, the management and my coaches enough. Everyone was there for me. That means the world. There’s a lot of good people here, so I really appreciate that. Like I said in the interview, I’m not trying to go after anyone. I just wanna be left alone,” he said.
Rike just wants to play basketball, after all.
“I love the Philippines. I said it from the minute I came here. I wanna make the country proud. No one’s gonna stop me from following my dream.