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(C) Ariya Kurniawan

32nd SEA Games

Christian Standhardinger retires from Gilas

After six years of service to Gilas Pilipinas Men, Christian Standhardinger has decided to hang up his sneakers for the national team.

This came days after he helped the Philippines regain gold in the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

According to the 33-year-old Germany-born Filipino, he already knew that the game against Cambodia would be his last game donning the country’s colors.

Gilas-Practice-2017-Jones-Cup-Christian-Standhardinger Christian Standhardinger retires from Gilas 32nd SEA Games Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

“The finals game marked a highly emotional day for me. Looking down in the locker room 30 minutes before tip-off at my swollen knees, I knew that this particular game would be my last appearance for the Gilas national team, proudly wearing the blue jersey,” said the 6-foot-9 big man.

“I knew that my body could not withstand the double duty, and unfortunately, nothing showed that more clearly than this tournament, where the demands were intensified. Nevertheless, I was determined to give my absolute best and contribute to Coach Chot Reyes’ mission of reclaiming the gold.”

In his last game for Gilas, Standhardinger contributed nine points in Gilas’ 80-69 win over Cambodia to give the country its 19th gold in the regional meet.

Standhardinger arrived in the country back in 2017.

Since he was not able to obtain his Philippine passport prior to turning 16 years old, the former ProA Most Valuable Player was slotted as a naturalized player in FIBA competitions.

During his run with the Philippines, he played a total of five games in FIBA competitions, averaging 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers and the 2017 Asia Cup. He also played for Gilas 3×3 in the 2018 World Cup.

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He also bagged three golds in the SEA Games.

In the Cambodia Games, Standhardinger was glad to have players like Brandon Rosser and Michael Phillips step up. Both are also classified as naturalized players by FIBA.

With a heavy heart, I must announce my retirement from the Philippine national team. I am immensely proud to witness that Gilas is in capable hands,” he continued.

“As you all saw, Brandon Rosser and Michael Phillips showcased their exceptional skills every single game. The future of Philippine basketball is in good hands, and this brings me both relief and joy.”

As he calls it a career with Gilas, Standhardinger could not help but look back on the last six years with wonder.

2017-FIBA-Asia-Cup-South-Korea-def-Philippines-Christian-Standhardinger Christian Standhardinger retires from Gilas 32nd SEA Games Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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“Out of the three gold medals I have proudly won for my country, this one holds a special place in my heart. Surrounded by remarkable individuals, both as players and, more importantly, as human beings, I couldn’t ask for a better last experience. It is an absolute privilege to witness a team coming together in such a unique and remarkable way,” he said.

“My journey in the Philippines began with a SEA Games gold medal, and it seems fitting that it concludes with one as well.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who had unwavering support for us throughout the years. Your encouragement and belief in our team have been the driving force behind our success. I am eternally grateful for everything. As I close this chapter of my life, I leave with a sense of fulfillment and pride in contributing to the glory of Philippine basketball. I have complete faith that Gilas will continue to soar to greater heights and bring more pride to our beloved nation,” he closed.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Maraming salamat, Pilipinas!”

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