FROM among the players national coach Chot Reyes called up ahead of Gilas Pilipinas' first practice in its buildup for the Fiba Asia Cup and Southeast Asian Games, one name sent netizens buzzing.
Who is Christian Standhardinger?
The Fil-German Standhardinger, whose middle name is Hermoso, joined amateur standouts Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, and Raymar Jose among the new additions in an expanded Gilas pool before the team reconvenes for training on June 20.
But unlike Paras and Co., Standhardinger, 27, is already a professional player who is signed with SC Rasta Vechta in the second division of the Basketball Bundesliga after a stint with first-division side Mitteldeutscher FC where he was a one-time All-Star.
Listed in international websites as anywhere between 6-7 to 6-9, the Munich-born Standhardinger also played five seasons in the US NCAA with University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2009-2011) and University of Hawaii at Manoa (2012-2014).
He averaged a combined 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in his college career.
So how did he end up in the Gilas pool?
According to Gilas team manager Butch Antonio, Standhardinger has been on the radar of the national team for a while now before he was called up for Gilas 5.0.
"Matagal na 'yan," Antonio said.
Asked if the big man is eligible to play for Gilas under stringent Fiba rules, Antonio said the SBP has already submitted Standhardinger's papers to the world basketball body for scrutiny.
Standhardinger is a Philippine passport holder, Antonio assured, but they are leaving it to Fiba to decide if it would qualify him to play for Gilas in international tournaments.
Under Fiba rules, players must secure passports of the country they want to represent in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments before they turned 16.