Standhardinger credits teammates for strong showing
Barangay Ginebra forward Christian Standhardinger’s recent success doesn’t merely stem from picking up the slack for absent big man Japeth Aguilar. It also comes from finding own niche in a club peppered with talents like Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson and Jamie Malonzo.
“I’m happy with my conference so far,” he told the Inquirer recently. “Obviously, you try to step it up, especially with Japeth out (with a knee injury). But basketball is a team sport. You never make it about yourself—or what you do—because you have great teammates around you.”
That willingness to step up and still stay within the team’s playbook has caused a resurgence in the high-motor big man, who is on track to win the PBA Governors’ Cup Best Player of the Conference trophy.
Standhardinger has been averaging 23.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists this conference, numbers that, when put together, account for a bulk of his 44.2 statistical points in the race for the award—six points ahead of his closest pursuer, San Miguel Beer’s CJ Perez.
But despite nearly doubling his scoring average from the Commissioner’s Cup, Standhardinger hasn’t really been forcing the issue and instead gets his coring cues from his teammates.
“I think it’s very important, that you always—as a professional basketball player—have a great relationship with your teammates. If your guys are cohesive, don’t forget why you get into those right places and [can] score a high percentage of field goals,” he said.
While Standhardinger admitted that his stellar showing this tournament has been largely due to Aguilar’s absence and the openings his teammates create, there is a lot to be said about the kind of work he puts into his game.
“It took a lot, to be honest with you. I think when I played in NorthPort and also when I got traded to Ginebra, my knees were really at the end of the road. I thought,” said Standharginer, who started playing organized hoops at 12.
“But then I found ways—exercises and stretching methods that turn back the clock a little bit,” he added. “I can now move in a way that I was not able to for three years now. I figured it out a little bit—to still contain my cartilage in my knees and everything and I’m just happy to have great teammates … and that we are a very cohesive unit that plays for each other.”