CHRISTIAN Standhardinger broke the heart of Pinoy fans on Sunday night, hitting two crucial jumpers to lead Hong Kong Eastern to a gripping 92-89 win over home team Alab Pilipinas in his Asean Basketball League (ABL) debut.
The Fil-German big man, who played for Gilas Pilipinas in two international tournaments this year, scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to justify his billing as the top pick overall by San Miguel in the recent PBA rookie draft.
Standhardinger was at his best in the endgame, hitting two big baskets to keep the home team at bay in a thrilling match to spoil the coaching debut of longtime Gilas star guard Jimmy Alapag.
With Alab down by just two points following a three-pointer by import Reggie Okosa, Standhardinger buried an open jumper with 17 seconds left to give Hong Kong Eastern more breathing room, 90-86.
Bobby Ray Parks converted a three-pointer to cut Hong Kong's lead to a point, 90-89, but Alab was unable to foul and let Standhardinger get away for a basket inside for the final tally.
Josh Urbiztondo's desperate three rattled out as the final buzzer sounded, disappointing a good-sized crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena that came to watch the season debut of a rejigged Philippine side.
Standhardinger's lay-up with 8:55 left in the third quarter gave Hong Kong its biggest lead at 61-46.
Elliott, the reigning world import MVP, had 25 points, including 19 in the first half to spearhead Hong Kong Eastern's attack early. Lamb had 23 points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
Okosa had 28 points and 12 rebounds to lead Alab while Parks had 17 points. Ivan Johnson contributed 17 points and 15 rebounds but fouled out with 3:23 left in the game.
Hong Kong Eastern 92 - Standhardinger 26, Elliott 25, Lamb 23, Moss 10, Xu 4, Lee 2, Tang 2, Wu 0, Lau 0.
Tanduay Alab Pilipinas 89 - Okosa 28, Parks 17, Johnson 17, Urbiztondo 14, Sumalinog 9, Domingo 2, Maierhofer 2, Raymundo 0, Celiz 0, Javelona 0, Hontiveros 0.
Quarters: 24-18, 54-43, 73-68, 92-89.