PBA Commissioner’s Cup

‘Deserved’: Cone, Thompson tip hats to workhorse Finals MVP Standhardinger

JR Isaga
‘Deserved’: Cone, Thompson tip hats to workhorse Finals MVP Standhardinger

WORKHORSE. Ginebra center Christian Standhardinger receives the 2022 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals MVP award from league commissioner Willie Marcial.

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Always out of the spotlight, doing the dirty work, Ginebra bruiser Christian Standhardinger receives praises from head coach Tim Cone and MVP Scottie Thompson after winning his first PBA Finals MVP award

MANILA, Philippines – Throughout Barangay Ginebra’s run in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, the spotlight always shone brightly on super import-turned-Filipino Justin Brownlee, do-it-all MVP and Best Player of the Conference Scottie Thompson, and the ever-sharp coaching acumen of Tim Cone.

So when Christian Standhardinger’s name was called as the Finals MVP of the grueling seven-game series against the visiting Bay Area Dragons, more than 50,000 people celebrating with the Gin Kings at the massive Philippine Arena were left in a joyful state of shock – including the man himself.

“I did not expect it. I was just sitting there, I started cramping up in the fourth quarter and just enjoyed the ride. Then I heard my name and I said, ‘Oh, wow.’ Then I jumped up there.”

While Standhardinger and many Ginebra fans were stunned by the announcement, both Cone and Thompson were the least bit surprised that their 6-foot-8 enforcer got the top individual playoff honor.

“I think it was fitting for Christian, because he represented, through the seven games, the hard work we had to do to stay with this team the whole way,” Cone said.

“I think it’s really neat and cool that everybody recognized Christian, because usually, you’re not going to recognize that guy who does all the hard work, does the defense. He defended [Andrew] Nicholson early, set all the screens, running all over the place. He just comes out and plays with such great fire every time.”

The Fil-German bruiser averaged 10.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists for the series overall, capped by a 12-point, 10-rebound, 6-assist line in the winner-take-all Game 7 – with countless more intangible moments that certainly helped sway the series in Ginebra’s favor.

“Deserved. Very much deserved. We know Stan’s role here, guarding Nicholson from the start, and providing back side help defense with Japeth [Aguilar] for us who were defending [Myles] Powell,” Thompson said in Filipino.

“Without them, we have no protectors. The only thing others see are us on defense, but they also cover a lot for us.”

Since getting drafted in 2017, Standhardinger has been a constant, low-key presence wherever he suits up, helping to propel teams forward. – Rappler.com

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