MANILA, Philippines – Christian Standhardinger proved a thorn on the side of former team San Miguel as he helped NorthPort nail a 127-119 win in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome on Wednesday, October 23.
Traded for Mo Tautuaa in a shock deal last week, Standhardinger immediately made an impact for his new squad as the Batang Pier put to waste Dez Wells' PBA career-high 56 points to improve to 3-4.
Standhardinger – the first overall pick in 2017 – delivered 18 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals, and most importantly, knocked down the dagger that closed all doors on any possible Beermen comeback.
Off a Wells miss, Standhardinger ran back to offense and sank a midrange jumper to give NorthPort 124-117 lead with a minute left.
San Miguel narrowed the gap to 5 points behind a June Mar Fajardo bucket but did not have time on their side as Nico Elorde sealed the victory with a booming triple off a Kevin Ferrer assist.
Import Michael Qualls, who replaced Mychal Ammons, was just as important for the Batang Pier after erupting for 40 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
Jervy Cruz backstopped Qualls with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Ferrer had 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals, while Russell Escoto added 10 points and 5 rebounds in the win.
Elorde chipped in 8 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals as he provided stability down the stretch after Robert Bolick went down with an apparent right knee injury he suffered early in the final frame.
Wells also collected 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks, and shot a sterling 17-of-29 clip from the field to reset his career-high, but could not make shots in the last two minutes, missing all of his last 3 attempts.
June Mar Fajardo wound up with 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Beermen, who slipped to 5-2, while Arwind Santos and Terrence Romeo contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively.
NorthPort 127 - Qualls 40, Cruz 21, Standhardinger 18, Ferrer 17, Escoto 10, Bolick 9, Elorde 8, Taha 2, Lanete 2.
San Miguel 119 - Wells 56, Fajardo 22, Santos 13, Romeo 12, Cabagnot 6, Pessumal 6, Nabong 2, Tautuaa 2, Ross 0, Rosser 0.
Quarters: 36-29, 64-57, 94-91, 127-119.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.