Ejected Standhardinger says hit on Abueva an accident
MANILA, Philippines – Christian Standhardinger insisted the hit to Calvin Abueva's face that led to his ejection early in San Miguel's 98-82 semifinals win over Phoenix in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup was an accident.
Standhardinger was sent to the locker room with 6 minutes left to play in the first half after he inadvertently kicked Abueva in the face as they both fell down to the floor.
Abueva then writhed in pain while grabbing his crotch area as Standhardinger got back up to his feet to play defense, forcing the referee to call a disqualifying foul.
The replays, though, were not clear if Standhardinger landed another kick.
"He pulled me down and then I fell down and I tried to run away or tried to run back on defense and I accidentally hit him," said Standhardinger, who finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds in 9 minutes.
"Obviously, I feel sorry for accidentally [hitting him]. That's the most important thing. But I think he's fine, he played all game. That's what happened."
Without Standhardinger, the Beermen trailed throughout the first 3 quarters before getting the job done against the pesky Fuel Masters in the final period for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven affair.
Although his presence could have made a difference, Standhardinger accepted the call.
"Obviously, it was a tough call to go to F2 (flagrant foul penalty 2) but you know, that's how it is," he said.
Abueva, meanwhile, fouled out with a minute remaining in the game after tallying team-highs of 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Frustrated for his final foul on June Mar Fajardo, Abueva headed back to the locker room. However, that did not go well as Phoenix was whistled for a bench technical for delay of the game.
Asked for his side, Abueva begged off while raising his hands: "No comment."
The two teams will have a few days to rest due to the Holy Week break before locking horns again in Game 3 on Sunday, April 21, at the Araneta Coliseum.
By then, San Miguel will be shooting for a commanding 3-0 lead as it continues its hunt for a fifth straight All-Filipino championship.
"We need two more to go and hopefully, we can make it to the finals," Standhardinger said. – Rappler.com