CHRISTIAN Standhardinger knows the stakes are high, not just for him but for San Miguel as a whole.
Not only is the Fil-German forward shooting for his first PBA title, but the Beermen are also eyeing an unprecedented fifth all-Filipino title when they meet Magnolia once again in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals starting Wednesday.
"I'm very excited," he admitted as he prepares for his second Finals appearance. "Obviously, we have a great team. I just need to figure out how I can help his team."
Standhardinger has so far done his part after nursing a recurring knee injury to start the season, blending well with the team's bevy of big men led by five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo.
He has averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds all-conference long, including a 16-point, 10-rebound performance in San Miguel's Game Three duel against Phoenix in the semifinals.
Standhardinger finding his place in a loaded team like the Beermen, especially in the Finals, could spell the difference between a continued dynastic run for the proud franchise or the end to this sensational stretch.
After all, that's the main reason why the team made a move to take him first overall in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft: to tighten their stranglehold atop the PBA food chain.
But the 29-year-old knows that the pressure isn't solely on him as San Miguel needs to be at its best when it takes on Magnolia in the best-of-seven series.
"It's gonna be hard against Magnolia. They just won the title last conference," said Standhardinger, fully aware of the experience the opposition garnered from last season.
"We really have to bring our A-game."