MANILA, Philippines – Christian Standhardinger is hanging up his Gilas Pilipinas jersey for good.
Standhardinger announced his retirement from the national team on Saturday, May 20, just days after helping the Philippines reclaim the men’s 5-on-5 basketball gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
Now 33 years old, Standhardinger said he realized it was time to close his chapter with Gilas Pilipinas after playing through a swollen knee in their 80-69 win over Cambodia in the finals on Tuesday, May 16.
Standhardinger, though, still delivered in the title-clinching victory with 9 points and 7 rebounds in nearly 22 minutes of action.
“I knew that my body could not withstand the double duty, and unfortunately, nothing showed that more clearly than this tournament, where the demands were intensified,” Standhardinger wrote on Instagram.
“Now, it’s time for me to follow in the footsteps of [Jayson Castro] and pass the torch to the next generation,” he added. “With a heavy heart, I must announce my retirement from the Philippine national team.”
The Filipino-German workhorse captured three SEA Games gold medals with Gilas Pilipinas after also starring for the 2017 and 2019 champion squads.
But Standhardinger said the last one he won in Cambodia holds a “special place in my heart” as he played a key role in the Philippines’ redemption bid after it relinquished the SEA Games crown it owned for decades last year.
“Surrounded by remarkable individuals, both as players and, more importantly, as human beings, I couldn’t ask for a better last experience,” said Standhardinger.
“It’s an absolute privilege to witness a team coming together in such a unique and remarkable way.”
“My journey in the Philippines began with a SEA Games gold medal and it seems fitting that it concludes with one as well,” he added.
Standhardinger said he leaves with relief and joy, confident that the team is in good hands and knowing that there are the likes of Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Michael Phillips who are capable of filling his shoes.
“As I close this chapter of my life, I leave with a sense of fulfillment and pride in contributing to the glory of Philippine basketball,” Standhardinger said.
“I have complete faith that Gilas will continue to soar to greater heights and bring more pride to our beloved nation.” – Rappler.com
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