MANILA, Philippines – Christian Standhardinger was one of the few bright spots in one of San Miguel's worst nights in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Standhardinger delivered a personal-best 26 points to go with 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the Beermen's 99-127 blowout loss to Barangay Ginebra in Game 1 of their best-of-7 finals on Friday, July 27.
The No. 1 overall pick did all that in just 25 minutes of work, and it definitely didn't go unnoticed in San Miguel head coach Leo Austria's eyes.
"With his showing tonight ano, kailangan gamitin ko siya ng mas mahaba. I think he's ready. The way he played tonight, he's really a winner eh," said Austria of his prized rookie.
(With his showing tonight, I think I need to use him longer. I think he's ready. The way he played tonight, he's really a winner.)
Standhardinger did not play a single second in the first quarter as the Beermen fell to a 20-35 hole. (READ: LA Tenorio all praise for red-hot Brownlee)
He was slotted in the second period and scored 7 points but the Gin Kings kept their tight grasp of the lead and zoomed to a 69-50 advantage at halftime.
It was still all Ginebra in the second half as it saw its lead swell to as large as 39 points but the Filipino-German workhorse kept pounding and poured in 19 of his output in the final two frames.
"Even though noong bandang huli it was a matter [of just finalizing] the score, he keeps on fighting back. That's one thing na positive na nakita ko tonight," Austria added.
(Even though in the last few minutes it was a matter of just finalizing the score, he kept on fighting back. That's one positive thing that I witnessed tonight.)
"He's already included in the rotation eh. I hope ma-sustain ito (he sustains this)."
The Beermen aim to equalize the series in Game 2 on Sunday, July 29, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.