FINALLY winning his first ever PBA championship, Christian Standhardinger hopes San Miguel will carry on the momentum and regain the Commissioner’s Cup title.
Ecstatic as the Beermen won a record fifth straight Philippine Cup championship, the Fil-German sophomore is looking forward to help the team keep its winning tradition in the mid-season conference where San Miguel teams up anew with former Best Import Charles Rhodes.
“I hope we can keep this up next conference (because) it feels amazing just being part of a team winning the championship,” said Standhardinger.
The 2017 top draft pick wasn’t around yet when Rhodes steered the Beermen to the Commissioner’s Cup championship by beating the TnT Katropa in six games of the finals.
Rhodes doesn’t seen any problem playing alongside Standhardinger, and other San Miguel newbies like Terrence Romeo and Kelly Nabong.
“I think I fit in well. I think I will fit in with them,” said Rhodes as he celebrated with the Beermen after pulling a 72-71 come-from-behind win against the Magnolia Hotshots in the deciding Game 7 of the finals.
The experience Rhodes will bring to the team will be valuable as the Beermen gun for back-to-back championships, in the same manner that experience powered the team past the Hotshots after trailing by as many as 17 points in their do-or-die encounter.
“Experience with Chris Ross, Alex (Cabagnot) made some big shots and the pressure of making those shots were amazing,” said Standhardinger, 29.
“We were down 14 points but we didn’t give up. And I appreciate that,” he said. “That showed we are a great team.”
He reserved his biggest compliment for his frontcourt partner June Mar Fajardo.
“Of course, June Mar did a lot of things. He did a great job,” he said of the Finals MVP, who grabbed a record 31 rebounds in the deciding game to break the long-standing PBA mark of 29 boards achieved by Marcelo Simbulan of 7-Up during the league’s inaugural season in 1975.
Standhardinger though, also commiserated with the Hotshots.
“I feel bad about Magnolia. They had a great fight and did a great job,” he said.