Standhardinger out to prove he is more than his short San Miguel stint
MANILA, Philippines–Officially, Christian Standhardinger’s last shot against his former squad in NorthPort’s 127-119 upset of San Miguel Beer in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night was a dagger of a basket over June Mar Fajardo at the 61-second mark of the ballgame.
He fired a lot more shots at the Beermen, though, after the game.
Standhardinger, the former No. 1 overall pick who spent most of his time with the Beermen on the bench, finished with 18 points and seven assists against his former squad, but missed 10 of his 18 shots in the game. What he did not miss was the key basket that capped NorthPort’s killer 7-0 run–and the opportunity to let everyone know he is worth more than the sum of his limited performance with San Miguel.
“There’s so many shots I didn’t make,” Standhardinger said. “That’s [because of] two years sitting on the bench; it’s hard to get into the groove of your game … so I just try to do my best.”
Standhardinger never found his niche in the San Miguel rotation–except for a short spell when the Beermen’s reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo missed games due to injuries–as he was relegated to chief backup. The Beermen’s hesitation to play Standhardinger and Fajardo together further diminished the Filipino-German’s minutes.
He was eventually traded mid-conference to NorthPort in exchange for versatile big man Mo Tautuaa, whose ability to stretch the floor makes him a more viable frontcourt partner with Fajardo.
“When I played with San Miguel, I played what … 16 minutes a game?” Standhardinger said. “I say that very respectfully but I have to prove something to the coaching staff wherever I play–if it’s NorthPort, whatever… I have to play and I have to prove to them that I think they made a mistake.”
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“Maybe they did not make a mistake and they played me the right way because we won two championships and that’s okay,” added Standhardinger. “But me, as a player, I can’t just sit down and be like ‘okay the coaching didn’t think that I am good and that’s how it is now.”
“No. I gotta be the player that I can be and I play my heart out to prove to the coaching staff, to [San Miguel Beer] coach Leo [Austria] that he could’ve played me more and I could’ve helped more.”
Standhardinger spoke briefly with Austria after the buzzer but didn’t divulge details about what he said. Austria, on the other hand, left Cuneta Astrodome immediately after the game.
“I’ll keep it privately,” he said of the exchange with Austria. “But [I talked to him] really respectfully. I have nothing but respect for the San Miguel team … That’s just something that I had to get off my heart and I think it was something very respectful and I did not mean it in a mean demeanor whatsoever.”
While Standhardinger said there was nothing personal with his performance against the Grand Slam-seeking Beermen, he did take a sideways shade at his former team.
“It is great,” he said of his new squad. “We play pick and roll and this is what’s different here: coach played me 45 minutes and that means trust. Like I said in my other interviews, if you trust me, if you’re my coach and you trust me … I can’t promise you that I’m going to be the best player.”
“But I promise you I’ll work my butt off and I’ll run through walls for you.”
Standhardinger also said he was profuse in his gratitude for Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio, who made him a central figure in the game plan against the Beermen.
“This is my first game, he doesn’t even know [my game], right? I told him, ‘Thank you so much for your trust in me and I will do my best to become that player that can help you the most to win games.’”
“I’m a loyal guy. I’m just a normal, loyal guy who tries to play the best possible way and I think I played the best possible way. Well, I am on the best possible level if the coach has trust in me. That’s why I’m just so grateful and I told him, ‘Thank you so much for your trust and I’m so happy that I was able to repay it.’”
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