Christian Standhardinger’s debut in the PBA may be one of the most anticipated in decades and this early, the Filipino-German big man gave San Miguel Beer fans a peek into what to expect from him.
There’s a chance he’ll shoot free throws one-handed. Also, he hates the idea of winning Rookie of the Year.
“I’m 28 years old and I think it’s unfair,” Standhardinger said. “That [award] should be given to the young guys like Kiefer [Ravena]—although he’s not that young.”
The last statement was made as a joke, within earshot of Ravena, at the sidelines of the exhibition match between the NLEX Road Warriors and Standhardinger’s ABL squad, Hong Kong Eastern.
It was the first meeting between the two players picked 1-2 in the draft—Standhardinger was selected first overall by San Miguel Beer—and even though the visiting squad forged a 98-85 triumph, Ravena showed that he might be worthy of Standhardinger’s endorsement.
Without coach Yeng Guiao barking instructions and the Road Warriors sitting out most of their veterans, Ravena was handed a free rein to command the team’s offense—a test he passed with flying colors.
“I know that we have a lot to improve on, on my part and the team’s behalf,” the former Ateneo superstar said.
“When it comes to the PBA, you have to be ready to contribute,” added the 24-year-old Ravena, who later inked an P8.5 million max rookie contract at the team’s offices in Makati. “But we all know that we’re still far away from where we want to be and what to expect this conference. But we’ll be ready by Dec. 17.”
Meanwhile, Standhardinger’s focus apart from his ABL stint is getting in touch with his Filipino fans through his vlogs and honing an unorthodox style of free throw shooting with just his right hand.
“If you watch me play, I’m not very conventional. I’m just efficient,” he said of his unusual form. “That’s the same thing with the free throw. It has not been working for me so good in the last two years, so I’m figuring out something unconventional and I hope that it works better for me. I have a good feeling with it.”
There are reports that San Miguel Beer may buy out the 6-foot-8 slotman’s contract in the ABL, giving him a chance to debut earlier than penciled—and making him eligible for the ROY race.
But if he can help it, he’d rather not win the award.
“I don’t want votes for the Rookie of the Year, I don’t deserve to be Rookie of the Year, and I’m not gonna be the Rookie of the Year. The young guys are the ones who are supposed to be Rookie of the Year.”
If he sticks with the Lions in the ABL, that shouldn’t be a worry. He could miss enough games to disqualify him for the award.