ACQUIRING Christian Standhardinger in a blockbuster trade gave Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone a feeling of deja vu.
The veteran mentor said the hardworking Fil-German was the prototype of the old Ginebra San Miguel team during the time of the great Robert Jaworski, while at the same time, he looked back with fondness the era when all-time legends Ramon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben would be involved in one-on-one trades.
“I think the Gin fans will appreciate his style of play. He’s a throwback to the Ginebra players of old,” the 63-year-old mentor pointed out.
Cone didn’t need to elaborate as he’s obviously referring to the time when Ginebra under Jaworski, who originally typified the team’s ‘never-say-die’ spirit, had blue-collar players under its wings and yet enjoyed immense success.
Names like Dante Gonzalgo, Rudy Distrito, Chito Loyzaga, Dondon Ampalayo, Leo Isaac, Joey Loyzaga, Romulo Mamaril, Rey Cuenco, among others, made up the core of the team, whose physical brand of play endeared them to basketball fans.
At the same time, Cone can’t help but look back at the time of Fernandez and Guidaben's era in the PBA.
“The trade reminds me of the old days when Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben would be traded for each other. Both premiere big men with different skills,” said Cone, who incidentally, managed to coach Guidaben at Alaska during the tail end of the two-time MVP’s colorful career.
More than the memories though, Cone sees Standhardinger’s play as suitable with the system being run by the team under his watch.
“C-Stan’s strengths will fit well with what Ginebra needs as a team,” he said. “We welcome C-Stan to the Ginebra family.”
But in welcoming a new family member, the Kings also had to let go of someone.
Unfortunately, that has to be the 7-foot Slaughter.
“We certainly wish Greg all the best and thank him for the championships he brought to Ginebra,” said Cone. “I believe Greg will go to NorthPort and put up much bigger numbers than he had at Ginebra and elevate that team. “