PBA: ‘Big time’ Christian Stanhardinger steps up for ailing Ginebra front court
MANILA, Philippines—Ginebra’s Christian Stanhardinger is responding extraordinarily to the squad’s big man problems with Japeth Aguilar out and coach Tim Cone is taking notice.
After the Gin Kings’ lopsided 109-89 win over Phoenix in the PBA Governors’ Cup tournament on Friday at Araneta Coliseum, Cone lauded Stanhardinger who came away with Player of the Game honors.
“He didn’t have the heavy minutes when Japeth was around. They were splitting time together but with Japeth out he’s getting the huge minutes and when we have to go to him, he’s responding big time. Big time,” told the top coach.
Other than fueling Ginebra to its sixth win in eight outings, the center also flirted with a triple-double with a stat line of 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Rebounding, Stanhardinger said, is what he aims to bring to the table, especially with Aguilar’s knee injury.
“Obviously, we all know Japeth is out so we need to come together as a team and compensate for the strength he brings to the team. One of those strengths is rebounding,” said the 33-year-old Stanhardinger.
However, he reiterated that he can not fully do what Aguilar does for Ginebra, especially when it comes to the blocking department.
“I’m gonna be honest, I’m not gonna be out there blocking shots. Maybe that’s something I need to work on in the offseason but rebounding is possible, especially in my game today.”
In true Cone fashion, the veteran tactician made sure to acknowledge his role players that helped the Gin Kings (6-2) keep their hold on the third seed.
“Von (Pessumal) played a great game tonight and he did Von things that he needed to do for us. Stanley (Pringle) played well. Guys coming off the bench played well, even Sydney (Onwubere) played well. [I] just got a really good feel for guys coming off the bench today,” told the mentor.
“As much as we rely on our starters, they do need help.”
True enough, both Cone and Stanhardinger’s demands were met by the Commissioner Cup champions. The Gin Kings’ bench scored a total of 31 points while also outrebounding the Fuel Masters in a big way, 65-51.
Up next for Ginebra is Converge at Philsports Arena on Sunday.