CHRISTIAN Standhardinger covered up for June Mar Fajardo on a rare off night for the five-time MVP in San Miguel’s 111-105 win over Rain or Shine at the start of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Saturday night.
The 6-foot-7 Fil-German finished with 20 points including nine in the fourth quarter, when he joined forces with import Chris McCullough and Chris Ross to complete a big comeback by the Beermen at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Standhardinger also had eight boards to compensate for a below-par showing by Fajardo, who scored just nine points and had a single rebound in 25 minutes of play. The SMB starting center didn't have a single free-throw attempt.
But it's testament to SMB's depth that a top draft pick like Standhardinger can always step up for Fajardo.
Standhardinger later played down his heroics.
“I’m just doing my job,” said Standhardinger. “And I’m happy that I was able to be efficient for my team today and that we got the victory.”
Standhardinger was more concerned about the Beermen's tendency to start slow. In Game One, they allowed Rain or Shine to race to a 7-0 start and stretch the lead to as many as 20-7 midway through the first quarter.
“It’s very big,” he said of how much a factor of always trying to overcome an early deficit especially in the playoffs.
“We always play catch-up basketball, but we keep on fighting,” said Standhardinger. “But I’m happy that at the end of the day, we got victorious.”
Despite the victory, the SMB big man doesn’t believe momentum is on the side of the Beermen in the best-of-five series.
“I wouldn’t say that. We just have to keep on working and keep on playing,” he said.