OTHER than playing his comeback game for San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup, Christian Standhardinger had an added motivation for his spirited play in the team’s 114-96 demolition of Alaska on Sunday night.
Standhardinger’s mother, Liz, and his grandparents were part of the sizeable crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that watched the Beermen wax hot in the second half to turn the game around after trailing for the most part.
Looking slim and obviously quicker, the Fil-German big man scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to mark his return to active roster after missing the Beermen’s last five games due to his knee injury.
Standhardinger admitted losing weight - around 10 pounds - in order to lessen the pressure on his knee.
“I feel better now. I’ve recovered. It took so much time to really get it fixed,” said the 6-foot-7 Standhardinger, who had played continuous basketball dividing his time playing for both San Miguel and the national team.
“It took so long to make it work again, to build muscle, to load, but I’m happy I’m back now.”
Standhardinger said he’s not yet 100 percent in game shape, but is already pain-free.
By his own evaluation, it will take two more games for him to really get back in the shape that he was before the injury.
“And I hope I can do that as quick as possible to help the team,” he said.
But on this night, Standhardinger won’t let his family down though he’s playing his first game with the Beermen in more than a month.
He hardly showed rust after shooting 10-of-15 from the field and had 14 points in the final quarter when the defending champions outscored the Aces, 35-25, to rip the game apart.
“I tried to play with extra motivation just to make them proud,” he said of his family, who flew in from the U.S. to personally watch him play in person for the first time.
The Beermen ended their elimination round campaign with a 7-4 record.