Rike, Santillan say 3×3 stints prepared them for PBA
Troy Rike and Leonard Santillan, two of the country’s leading 3×3 stars, believe that the specialized circuit has primed them well for the action that awaits them in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“It allowed me to work on my skills … Hopefully, it gets me to the point where I’m able to make an impact in the PBA,” Rike said in Saturday’s episode of Power & Play hosted by former PBA chief Noli Eala.
“It was a big help for me. It’s the same with Troy,” added Santillan. “I got to guard players smaller and faster than me.”
Rike, a 6-foot-8 forward who once served the Gilas Pilipinas program as a cadet, is currently ranked fifth in the national 3×3 rankings. Santillan, who stands at 6–foot-5 meanwhile, is sixth best in the country.
Both logged stints in the PBA D-League before focusing on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, which in a way helped grow the half-court game’s popularity here, effectively greasing the Philippines’ rise in Fiba’s global rankings and the country’s bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games where the event is making its inaugural appearance.
The two stars, along with fellow 3×3 standout and prospective No. 1 pick Joshua Munzon, are raring to join the PBA after initially ditching the draft to focus on the streetball circuit.
“I think there was a lot of unfinished business with 3×3—we had a lot of we wanted to do, achieve, kind of take that next step … But I think just after talking with my family, and really thinking about it, I felt [this is] really the time for me to enter the PBA draft,” Rike said.