CHRISTIAN Standhardinger shrugged off the pressure of filling the huge shoes of Andray Blatche as Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player in the Fiba Asia Cup next month in Lebanon.
The Filipino-German is ineligible to play as a local under current Fiba rules, so he is instead taking the naturalized player spot of Blatche, who begged off due to still unclear reasons.
“Andray Blatche is a great player and he can’t make it so I’m just trying to be a part of this team and try to help us to be good as possible for the team to win,” Standhardinger said after Gilas’ return to practice on Thursday night.
“I don’t think there’s much pressure on me,” the 6-foot-8 slotman added. “I think there’s a lot of pressure on us as a team and that’s very important that we hopefully get victories.”
His inclusion to the 12-man team means he is set to play in two straight tournaments, the second one the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia late August.
“I feel very honored that I play two tournaments for the Philippines,” Standhardinger said. “I don’t see it as first team or second team; I see that we all are a whole team and I’m going to try my best to help win us as a whole to win both tournaments.”
“That (selection) means the coaches like what they see or they wouldn’t let me participate in two tournaments, so I will do my best,” the German league veteran added.
Standhardinger is bracing for fatigue that is expected to set in as he’s actually doing triple duty for the Philippines after also recently playing in the Jones Cup.
“I’m going to be ready,” the 28-year-old cager said.
Asked what his plan after the national team’s upcoming tournaments is – say declaring for the PBA Draft, Standhardinger is focused on the present for now.
“The future is very unclear, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
What’s certain is the immediate future – or on Friday morning when he’s is tasked to treat the team pizza for coming in late in Gilas first practice.
“There was a miscommunication,” Standhardinger said in explaining his tardiness. “I changed numbers and we had a miscommunication, so I have to buy pizza now. But I like to buy pizza for my teammates so we have a great practice tomorrow.
“I don’t know if it’s a punishment,” he added with a smile. “Coach said I should buy pizza, so I’ll buy pizza. I don’t question what coach says.”