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Rike, Torralba not 'pressured' about possible early PBA Draft selection

Troy Rike wants to downplay all the expectations on him so that he could compete at a high level. Nikki Collantes (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--With a PBA Draft class this loaded, it is not going to be surprising if even a projected third round pick can become a future star.

However, among the players who might get drafted early into the Sunday night virtual event are former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 star Troy Rike and MPBL gunner Josh Torralba.

Despite the projected early selections as what some mock drafts would suggest, Rike and Torralba, as they told Sports on Air on Wednesday night, insisted that they do not feel the pressure that might come along with it.

For Torralba, he has already experienced enough high pressure moments to become mentally and emotionally ready for the draft.

"I think I've experienced a lot of pressure-filled moments that, like being in the draft, are as stressful as what I've been through," said the six-foot-two guard.

Upon joining a championship contender in La Salle, Josh Torralba experienced "pressure-filled moments" enough to treat a potential early PBA Draft selection with a grain of salt. Pen Lazarte (file photo)
One example was when he became part of one of the best teams La Salle has ever formed featuring Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala.

Knowing that the roster, that also has the likes of Kib Montalbo, Andrei Caracut, and a rookie Aljun Melecio among others, is loaded with talent, Torralba, who played for one season with Emilio Aguinaldo College and instantly became a main man offensively there, yielded and focused on the other end of the floor.

"In my freshman year in college, Coach Gerry Esplana gave me the green light: 'Sige na lang. Ikaw ang bahala.' So I was like, 'Cool!' But as I went to La Salle, someone has to play that role and whatever puzzle [piece] that needs to be placed," Torralba said about his shift of role to a lockdown defender.

The Green Archers made the finals in back-to-back occasions, winning the 2016 championship.

He eventually became an offensive specialist again when he was recruited by Makati in the MPBL, helping the squad shock the powerhouse Manila squad to enter the North Division Finals.

Unfortunately for him, problems within the management forced him to sit out the national semifinal decider against San Juan in Subic Bay.

Meanwhile, for Rike, he just wants to make the team that would select him proud.

"Whatever team picks me, I wanna make them proud," the six-foot-eight forward said.

The Wake Forest and National University alumnus even said that he would prefer downplaying the expectations so that he can do what is expected of him.

"If there's one thing I've learned in my experience, if you get caught up in the expectations or what the people think of you, it's just a losing battle," Rike further said.

Wake Forest, one of the known US NCAA contenders, takes pride in having NBA legend Tim Duncan and current superstar Chris Paul as alumni.

That gives Rike, who won the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 title last year, a nice portfolio ahead of the draft on Sunday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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