NORTHPORT owner Mikee Romero shot down trade rumors involving Christian Standhardinger, labeling the Filipino-German big man as the face of the PBA franchise.
Standhardinger, the 2017 Draft No. 1 overall pick who the Batang Pier acquired in a trade with San Miguel for Mo Tautuaa last October, has been the subject of trade talks that supposedly had him going to either Ginebra or Magnolia.
Romero, however, insisted Standhardinger, the 2019 Governors' Cup Best Player of the Conference and Mythical Five member, is not on the trading block.
“Bakit mo naman ite-trade? Hindi totoo ‘yun,” Romero insisted with a chuckle after his appearance in the PSA Awards Night where he received a citation on behalf of the Philippine polo team that captured a bronze medal in the Southeast Asian Games.
Romero had made previous statements that former franchise players Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle were not on the trading block, only to see the dynamic backcourt duo leave eventually.
But he sounded firm on C-Stan.
“Siya ang face ng team, si Christian,” the team owner said of the 6-foot-8 Gilas Pilipinas slotman. “And he will remain as the face of NorthPort Batang Pier.”
With the 30-year-old Standhardinger as the anchor, the Batang Pier look to take advantage when the Philippine Cup resumes as they navigate a field without top big men June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and Raymond Almazan, at least for a while.
“Mukhang maganda yung chance namin,” Romero said. “Any team, lalo na pag all-Filipino, na may big man, malaking bagay. Problema lang namin, maraming na-injure, but the team is trying its best to compete.”
Romero, who’s also the Deputy House Speaker and 1-PACMAN representative, is confident of the team's chances even without injured Robert Bolick, who's expected to back only in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Si Robert was not with us when we reached the semis last time, so hopefully we can replicate,” Romero said, referring to their Final Four appearance in the last Governors’ Cup with Michael Qualls as import. “Two times pa lang kami nakakapag-semfinals dito sa PBA. Napakahirap talaga.”
“We’ll take it one step at a time,” he added. “Sana maulit namin yung nagawa sa semifinals. After that, anybody’s ballgame na. but we’re learning. It’s a learning process for us. Natuto na kami last year, so we learned from those mistakes.”