By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
SELECTED first overall in this season’s Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) rookie draft, Christian Standhardinger was expected to fortify what already is a solid San Miguel crew.
Combining height and mobility, coupled with a no-nonsense mind-set in how he approaches the game, the Filipino-German brings a lot to the table which should only serve the defending champions in good stead not only for the now but, more importantly, for the future.
But while all indications point to the Gilas Pilipinas player being a boon to San Miguel, adjustments undeniably need to be made, something the Beermen are seemingly still in the process of doing based on their debut outing in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup on May 9.
After missing the rest of the season-opening Philippine Cup to honor his contract with the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club in the ASEAN Basketball League where they finished in the top four, Mr. Standhardinger finally made his PBA debut with the red and white.
Unfortunately for him and the Beermen, it was not a winning debut as they fell, 93-85, to the Meralco Bolts.
Mr. Standhardinger played 20 minutes in his maiden outing, finishing with four points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals with five fouls.
The 28-year-old admitted he could have had a better debut and it would have been nice to open things with a victory, but he was not giving himself as hard a time for it, recognizing that they as a team are still figuring things out how to play along with each other.
“We lost. Everybody saw the game, we lost. That was unfortunate. That was not good,” said Mr. Standhardinger as he met members of the media following his first game.
He went on to say that he knows what his role is with the loaded Beermen and vowed to stay committed to working on it and help the team win.
“I’m okay with whatever role I am needed in and I think in this team where we have so many scorers, my job is to defend, give energy and facilitate more and I think all of you guys saw that that was my main focus today on the court. And I will do that, keep doing that, as long as the head coach tells me different,” he said.
For reigning league most valuable player June Mar Fajardo, whose “twin towers” tandem with Mr. Standhardinger has many looking with a keen eye, it will only be a matter of time when the rookie starts getting into the flow of the San Miguel system.
“Christian has been playing for a while now and I’m pretty sure he will adapt to the system of coach (Leo Austria) in no time. This is just his first game and he is still getting used to things in the PBA. But it’s not really a big deal. He just needs time and I’m sure he will pick up his game,” said Mr. Fajardo, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in their first game.
Mr. Standhardinger and the rest of the Beermen were to play their second game late yesterday against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.