'Rough summer' worth it for Standhardinger with first gold as Gilas member
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Christian Standhardinger made sure to take a lot of selfies with his shiny new gold medal on Saturday night, August 26.
The 28-year-old Filipino-German could be seen savoring his gold medal with a lot of photos on his smartphone inside the locker room, a couple of hours after Gilas Pilipinas completed another tournament sweep of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
It was the perfect culmination to months of hard work for him and making sacrifices like playing through fatigue from Beirut, Lebanon to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a span of just days.
"I feel very proud and I feel very happy that it worked," he said, his medal still hanging from his neck.
"It was a very rough summer for me but it was worth every minute and I’m happy that I was able to end this journey in the summer with Gilas with a victory."
The Philippine national men's basketball team clobbered Indonesia in the final, 94-55, for the country's 18th basketball gold medal in 19 participations at the MABA Stadium here.
Standhardinger was one of the first to drape the Philippine flag over his shoulders after the final buzzer sounded and water bottles came flying from the Gilas bench.
This is his first international gold medal, and his first playing for the Philippines.
Standhardinger, along with Carl Bryan Cruz, flew in from Beirut following the conclusion of the FIBA Asia Cup played by a separate, more senior team of Gilas Pilipinas members.
Standhardinger trained immediately the next day after arriving in Kuala Lumpur and although he struggled in the opener against Thailand, he quickly integrated himself into the SEA Games Gilas team.
After pushing himself to keep going (and staying upbeat while doing so), Standhardinger had more than enough energy for the excitement and celebrations at the podium.
He walked around with the Philippine flag all over him, hugging teammates, obliging for photos with eager fans who crowded the basketball court and had to be told repeatedly to clear away.
"Even without the moment in the podium it was worth it. Gilas has so many great guys, if it’s the FIBA Asia team or the SEA Games team it doesn’t matter," he said.
"They’re all great guys and it’s so much fun playing with them. But I did feel my bones a little bit theses past two games. I’m happy it worked out so well in the end."
Standhardinger now looks ahead to playing for defending champions Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions in the upcoming season of the ASEAN Basketball League.
He said he still hasn't decided yet whether he'll enter his name into the PBA Draft.