Christian Standhardinger feels nothing but gratitude to NorthPort despite his short-lived stay after the Batang Pier traded him to Barangay Ginebra in exchange for Greg Slaughter in a blockbuster one-for-one swap, Friday.
The Fil-German star took to Instagram hours after the PBA announced the deal to thank the Batang Pier, who acquired him via trade as well with San Miguel Beer late in 2019 for Mo Tautuaa in another straight-up exchange.
“I want to thank NorthPort Batang Pier for everything— for taking a chance on me and for the great memories that we had together,” he wrote.
In his short yet touching post, Standhardinger recounted NorthPort’s historic run in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. There, they overcame many obstacles on their way to just their second semifinal appearance in franchise history.
From missing Sean Anthony’s services for a number of games; to Robert Bolick tearing his ACL; to roster shake-ups that included switching imports from Mychal Ammons to Michael Qualls, many thought it a campaign to forget.
They were even 3-6 at one point in the conference, and needed to win all their remaining games to make it to the quarterfinals. But the Batang Pier did just that, scoring huge wins over NLEX and the Gin KIngs.
That conquest of Ginebra in their final eliminations game brought them to the quarters. And come the said stage, they overcame NLEX’s twice-to-beat edge, becoming just the fourth no. 8 seed to beat the top seed.
They eventually bowed to eventual champs Ginebra in the semis. Still, it was nevertheless a magical run — essentially winning four straight knockout games. That streak even extended to five as they took Game One from the Barangay.
“I will never forget our five-game winning streak, four of which are do-or-die games!
“Also, when we upset the number one ranked team and reach the semifinals in our first conference together,” he wrote.
For turning their fortunes around, Standhardinger was crowned as the Best Player of the Conference. He is just the second player to win the BPC after being traded in the middle of the conference next to Nelson Asaytono.
But as impressive as he was during his short stint with NorthPort, what Standhardinger is proud of the most was going to war with his teammates.
“It was an honor to fight alongside my teammates/friends who are not only amazing players but also great people,” said the 6-foot-8 bruiser, who averaged 19.9 points and a league-best 12.0 rebounds in the 2020 Philippine Cup.
Lastly, Standhardinger thanked Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio saying, “I would like to extend my gratitude to Coach Pido! Thank you coach, for allowing me to go all out for the team and giving me the trust that comes with it.”
The 31-year-old now joins a Ginebra squad that’s keen to defend the all-Filipino it won in the Clark bubble last season, fortifying a frontline bannered by former Finals MVP Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, and Prince Caperal.
Standhardinger also gets to reunite with some of his former teammates such as Stanley Pringle. They played together for Gilas Pilipinas — first in the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup and then in the Asian Games the same year.
They even took turns being the Nationals’ naturalized player back in the time of Coach Yeng Guiao in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. The two had also won gold together in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is excited about the arrival of Standhardinger, and he believes that he will fit in just right. Moreover, the 23-time champion mentor sees him as someone which the ka-Barangays will admire.
“C-Stand’s strengths will fit well with what Ginebra needs as a team,” he said. “We welcome C-Stand to the Ginebra family. I think the Gin fans will appreciate his style of play.
“He’s a throwback to the Ginebra players of old.”