Christian Standhardinger further solidified his bid of securing the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup Best Player of the Conference award after helping Barangay Ginebra book a trip back to the Finals at San Miguel’s expense, Wednesday.
Leader of the statistical points race entering the playoffs, the Fil-German bruiser collected 14 points and 17 rebounds as he played a key role in the Kings’ 87-85 come-from-behind victory that swept his old team in three games.
He’s now on pace to bag another individual award this season after earning Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP honors in their seven-game conquest of Bay Area behind norms of 10.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 steals.
And should he indeed cop the plum, it would be his second BPC award after winning so in the 2019 edition of the season-ending tilt with NorthPort.
But ever the team player, Standhardinger isn’t coming into the upcoming Finals with the mentality of accomplishing a personal achievement.
“As honored as I am about the Finals MVP, and as much as I appreciate it, obviously I cannot go into the series thinking, ‘OK, I’m gonna be Finals MVP.’ It’s not about that,” he said after the game at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
All that matters to him is being of help to the Barangay in finding ways to win, something that he and his teammates did versus the Beermen.
Match was tied at 85-all and the crowd darlings showcased endgame poise time and again, with Justin Brownlee finding the former top pick near the rim for the go-ahead bucket with exactly four seconds left to play.
Ginebra would prevent the opposition from converting on the other end, eventually becoming the first team to sweep SMB in a best-of-5 series.
“The last play, Jusitn will get the ball, I go in that short corner, offensive rebound, that’s normally what I’m looking for just in case Justin misses it,” he recalled.
“He went to the basket, my guy helped because he beat Clark, then Justin gave me that ball, put trust in me, and I’m happy I was able to make it.”
And so, it will still be the theme for the reigning champions in the best-of-7 championship series, where they will face either Meralco or TNT.
“We have so many great players. It’s just figuring out what we can do to play the odds and to play the probabilities right,” Standhardinger said.
“So coming into playing Meralco or TNT, we need to just focus on what can we do, what can each individual has to [improve] the probabilities that we can be victorious. And we have done that so far,” he added.
“Hopefully, we’ll find the little puzzle pieces in the Finals series. I know we’re gonna go all out, and hope for the best.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.