PBA: SMB’s Standhardinger debuts with a loss against Meralco

MANILA, Philippines - 2017 Top Draft Pick Christian Standhardinger has yet to show his full basketball potential as San Miguel Beermen suffered their 1st loss in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup against Meralco Bolts, 93-85 on Wednesday, May 9 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Unfamiliarity was the major culprit in SMB’s loss against Meralco and Christian Standhardinger’s low output
Unfamiliarity was the major culprit in SMB’s loss against Meralco and Christian Standhardinger’s low output | Photo Credit: hoops.ph

After a successful All Filipino Cup campaign, the San Miguel Beermen had been longing to parade their “second import”, as Coach Leo Austria called his 2017 1st draft pick, the Filipino-German Standhardinger.

The 6’8” Standhardinger wasn’t able to join his new team in the previous conference as he was in the ABL playing for Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club who ironically got eliminated by San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the semifinals.

PBA fans had been itching to see Standhardinger pair with the league’s reigning MVP, the 6’10” June Mar Fajardo. The duo has been dubbed as SMB’s own “Twin Towers” who can size-up against Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar - Greg Slaughter tandem.

Everyone expected Christian Standhardinger to start the game alongside “The Kraken” but the prized rookie officially unfolded his PBA career at the 3:40 mark of the opener as he subbed in for June Mar Fajardo.

Standhardinger had the toughest assignment as soon as he entered the floor for the first time as he was tasked to guard Meralco’s import, Arinze Onuaku.

Standhardinger denied Onuaku twice and followed those defensive stops with a baseline jumper and an assist to SMB’s reinforcement, Troy Gillenwater.

At the start of the 2nd quarter, Coach Leo Austria both fielded in his first picks, 2012 top choice Farjardo and last year’s 1st overall pick Standhardinger.

With just couple of minutes gone by, Standhardinger found himself in early foul trouble as he committed his 3rd personal foul. Coach Austria however, opted to retain the power forward to suppress Meralco’s Onuaku.

After the 1st half, San Miguel Beermen were behind Meralco Bolts by 5, 46-41. For Christian Standhardinger, he had 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist

Midway of the third, there was still no sign of Standhardinger and San Miguel continued to trail Meralco.

Come 4:49, the Gilas Pilipinas power forward was re-inserted for rebounding purposes as the Beermen were clearly outrebounded by the Bolts since the game started.

Standhardinger committed several turnovers in 3rd quarter and obviously got frustrated for not getting calls from the referees.

San Miguel overtook Meralco and Coach Austria let Standhardinger played sans Fajardo in the dying minutes of the penultimate quarter until the final period to give the Fil-German a confidence booster to overcome his offensive struggles.

Christian Standhardinger checked out under 5 minutes and spent the rest of the ballgame on the bench with only 4 points.

After savoring the All Filipino Cup Title, San Miguel Beermen fell in the hands of Meralco Bolts in their first game of the Commissioner’s Cup, 93-85.

The Beermen will have a 4-day off to regroup and bounce back on Sunday, May 13, 2018 against the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters. Likewise, Christian Standhardinger will have an ample time to adjust and get familiarized with his new team.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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