MANILA, Philippines – Christian Standhardinger has made it a point to prove he is a “good basketball player” as he gets a fresh start with NorthPort after being traded by San Miguel in the middle of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Filipino-German dazzled in his first game for the Batang Pier with 18 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in a 127-119 win over none other than his former team San Miguel on Wednesday, October 23.
Shipped by the Beermen in exchange for Mo Tautuaa in a shock deal last week, Standhardinger – as fate would have it – debuted for NorthPort against the squad that drafted him first overall in 2017.
He did not disappoint.
Standhardinger featured in several highlight plays, assisting import Michael Qualls on a couple of alley-oop dunks, connecting on behind-the-back passes, and bringing down the ball like a guard.
And as if it was meant to be, he drained a jumper with a minute left that essentially closed all doors on a San Miguel comeback.
Standhardinger played a whopping 45 minutes – a far cry from his average of 12.8 minutes in 4 games for the Beermen this conference that saw him come off the bench as backup to reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.
“I played in Europe, I played everywhere. When I played with San Miguel, I played what is that? 16 minutes a game? I say that very respectfully. But I have to prove something to the coaching staff wherever I play,” Standhardinger said.
“If it’s NorthPort – wherever I play – I have to prove to them that I think they made a mistake. Maybe they did not make a mistake and they played me the right way because we won two championships and that’s okay.”
“But me as a player, I can’t just sit down and be like, ‘Okay, the coaching staff didn’t think that I am good and that’s how it is now.'”
“I got to be the player that I can be and I play my heart out to prove to the coaching staff, to coach Leo [Austria] that he could’ve played me more and I could’ve helped more.”
Standhardinger, though, clarified he was not taking things personal with San Miguel tactician Austria, whom he exchanged words with after the match.
“Professionally, coach Leo thought that I’m not as good as… that I’m not that good, that’s why he played me the minutes he played me and I think that I’m good,” Standhardinger said.
“Now, I’m here in NorthPort and I’m trying to work my butt off to prove to them that I’m a good basketball player,” he added. “I hope there’s no ill feelings. I have nothing but respect for the San Miguel management.”
Given the playing time he feels he deserves, Standhardinger was extremely grateful to Batang Pier mentor Pido Jarencio.
“I’m a loyal guy. I’m just a normal, loyal guy who tries to play the best possible way and I think I played the best possible way. Well, I am on the best possible level if the coach has trust in me,” Standhardinger said.
“That’s why I’m just so grateful and I told him, ‘Thank you so much for your trust and I’m so happy that I was able to repay it’.”
Standhardinger looks to help NorthPort clinch a third straight win against Alaska on November 3 at the Araneta Coliseum and he vowed to polish his game.
“[I]f you trust me, if you’re my coach and you trust me, I don’t promise you that I’m going to win you all the games, I can’t promise you that I’m going to be the best player. But I promise you I’ll work my butt off and I’ll run through walls for you.” – Rappler.com
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