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Standing tall

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 242

I’D  appreciate it if you can keep this page out of reach of Talk  N Text and  the six other teams
seeking the ouster of PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa,  but  I  think Christian Standhardinger  is  
really good.

In fact, he  is so damn good that PBA fans now say he could really be  the next face of
Philippine basketball.

And  the  more we see how good he plays the basketball, the more  the seven  PBA  teams will  
cry foul  on  how he ended  up with the league’s winningest team.
         
You see, the No.  1 overall pick by San Miguel Beer in last month’s  PBA Rookie Draft proved  
he is  good  as  advertised during Hong  Kong Eastern Sports Club’s 92-89  win  over Alab Pilipinas in
last Sunday's opening game of  the Asean Basketball League  (ABL) at the Mall of Asia Arena.
    
The 6-7 Fil-German standout, who also played for Gilas Pilipinas in  two international
tournaments early this year, lived up to expectations by leading the  Hong Kong-based team to a
thrilling victory over the Ray Parks,  Jr.-led Filipinos  in his first game  infront of an adoring
Filipino crowd.
    
But more  than providing  the inspiration to his team, Standhardinger came up  with more  than
enough numbers  to validate his claim as the biggest star of the night.
     
If  getting the most points for Hong Kong Eastern was not enough, he grabbed the  most
rebounds and  blocked -- or altered -- the most shots to ensure the victory.
 
The 28-year-old Standhardinger was at his  usual  best in the endgame, hitting  two big
baskets  that broke the  hearts of the home team,  which rallied from 15 points down to keep the game
close and interesting.
    
Standhardinger’s  numbers at the end of the night: 26 points, 14 rebounds.
    
“Standhardinger hits dagger after dagger vs Alab in smashing debut for Hong Kong,” wrote
sportswriter Reuben Terrado in his Spin.Ph  report.
    
“I  was so excited. The gym was full. What a great atmosphere. This is  what I love about the
Philippines. Great basketball culture. We have a great basketball culture. That’s why I'm always happy
when I’m back here,” said Standhardinger after the game.
    
There were some boos from local Alab fans, but Standhardinger swore  he didn’t mind.
 
“I didn’t hear the booing,” Standhardinger said later. “I (still) love the Filipino fans. If
they cheer me, or they boo me, it's okay. Nothing personal. It’s all good. It’s all love.”
    
One of  the  witnesses to Standhardinger's impressive game for Hong Kong  was San Miguel Beer
coach Leo Austria.
        
And obviously,  Austria liked what he saw.
 
Six months from now,  Austria  will have  the   luxury of playing Standhardinger alongside
four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo in the PBA.
    
This early, experts now describe the Fajardo-Standhardinger “Twin Towers”  combination to be  
as  imposing and  as  breathtaking as the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.
    
But to the rest of the PBA, especially the seven teams which wanted  Narvasa’s  head for
approving the trade that sent Standhardinger from Kia  Picanto   to San Miguel  Beer  last month,  
there’s one word that best describe  the Fajardo-Standhardinger tandem.
    
Yes  Clyde M.,   it’s an 11-letter word   -- F-R-I-G-H-T-E-N-I-N-G.
     
And they haven’t even started yet.

                  *   *   *

    
Mark  your calendar.
    
The  24th Philippine  Basketball Association  Press Corps (PBAPC) Awards  Night will be  held
as scheduled  on Nov. 30 at the Gloria Maris Restaurant at the Gateway Mall in Cubao.
    
Highlight of the formal gathering is the presentation of the Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan  Coach of
the Year trophy  named after the prodigious late  mentor considered as one of the brilliant coaching
minds the country ever produced.
    
Also to be distinguished is the Danny Floro Executive of the Year award who’s being named  
after the amiable former team owner of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers.
    
Since 1993, the recognition  has been  given out on a yearly basis by the PBAPC, composed of
the men and women representing the country’s daily broadsheets, tabloids, and websites who regularly
cover the PBA beat.
    
The awards are also separate from the regular ones handed out by the pro league at season’s
end.
    
The official PBAPC Facebook page would be launched during the affair to be hosted  by lovely
courtside reporter Rizza Diaz  and veteran broadcaster Sev Sarmenta.

NOTES -- Advance  happy birthday to my  youngest son, Brian Paul M. Andaya, who will turn 21
on No. 25.  An Information Technology  student  at Far Eastern University,  Brian is one of my three  
basketball-loving sons who could hold their ground as we discuss  nothing  but basketball from sunrise
to sunset. He is also an avid  Russell Westbrook and OKC Thunder fan.

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