Christian Standhardinger’s rookie season in the PBA has wrapped up, but unlike some of his contemporaries, he won’t have the luxury of taking some time off.
The Filipino-German forward has just been included by head coach Yeng Guiao in Gilas Pilipinas’ 20-man training pool for the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers from November 30 to December 3.
Standhardinger has been playing for 17 straight months now, or since joining Gilas in the William Jones Cup in July of 2017. But make no mistake, the 29-year-old workhorse has no qualms whatsoever, as duty calls.
“I don’t know how long I played. I played Gilas, then I played in Hong Kong (ABL), I played PBA, Gilas, PBA, I’m playing for – I don’t know – seventeen months straight? I really don’t know, but it feels like forever,” said the 6-foot-8 bruiser.
“Obviously, eventually my body needs a break, but the country calls.
“So in one month, first thing, I gotta be in shape and ready and I cannot rest yet. So I’m just trying to stay in shape, get better and then, after the window, I’m trying to get some free time and some recovery time,” the 29-year-old added.
Along with Stanley Pringle, Standhardinger will once again be the team’s naturalized player in lieu of the 6-foot-11 Andray Blatche, as the two have already built chemistry with the others and Guiao has said he does not want to jeopardize the rhythm.
Moreover, Standhardinger and Pringle both produced solid outings back in the fourth window, when they took turns facing Iran in Tehran and Qatar in Quezon City – the Philippine team went 1-1 in that window and improved to 5-3.
For Standhardinger, he trusts Guiao’s decision.
“It’s more like what fits the best for the team and that’s what coach Yeng sees. I think he’s a great coach and, you know, I trust the judgment,” he said. “When they call for me then I’m trying to answer as good as possible if my body allows.
“And I’m trying to play my heart out for them like I did the last tournaments and the last games. I just gotta keep going and hopefully, I can do something to be able to help the national team win against Iran or whoever I play against.”
This pool – which will commence preparations on November 12 – is seen as the tallest and best ever built, as it boasts Japeth Aguilar, Ian Sangalang, Poy Erram, Beau Belga, Kai Sotto, Greg Slaughter, and June Mar Fajardo.
“They are great, great, great basketball players and I’m always honored to play next to them and with them.”
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