MANILA, Philippines – Even as the fallout from the controversial trade between San Miguel Beer and KIA Picanto continues to affect the Philippine Basketball Association, there is one person who is thoroughly unconcerned about the ongoing issue.
Christian Standhardinger – the player whom San Miguel selected with the No. 1 pick that it received from KIA – merrily went about his business on Thursday.
He led his ABL squad, Hong Kong Eastern, to a win in a tune-up game against NLEX, gamely discussed his new free throw shooting stroke with media, and revealed that he will soon release a v-log detailing his experience on Draft Day.
The center of one of the most contentious trades in recent PBA history was the one least fazed about it.
"I just put my name in [the draft], and whichever team picks me, I'll play for it. I'm a professional, and I'll work hard," said Standhardinger.
"It seemed that San Miguel wanted me the most of the teams that tried to get me, and that's how it is," he added, neatly summing up how he wound up playing for the Beermen – a team that won two of the three conferences in the previous PBA season.
Rather than concerning himself with the drama surrounding his selection, Standhardinger is instead pouring his energies on trying to win.
The Filipino-German will first suit up for Hong Kong in the ABL, before playing for San Miguel later in the PBA season.
"Right now, I'm focused on winning the ABL championship," said Standhardinger. "And soon, championships in the PBA."
Indeed, Standhardinger not only wants to win – he wants to win the big trophies. He shrugs off the Rookie of the Year race, saying that at 28 years old, he is probably not the deserving player of the award.
"Give it to the young guys," he said. "I don't want votes for Rookie of the Year, I don't deserve to be Rookie of the Year, I don't want to be Rookie of the Year."
"I'm not gonna be Rookie of the Year," he flatly declared. "I'm 28, and I think it's unfair. For the young guys like Kiefer (Ravena)… although he's not young. For the young guys, those are the guys who are supposed to be Rookie of the Year."
What about the other big individual award that the PBA gives out – the MVP trophy?
"Basketball is a team sport," said Standhardinger. "I only care about winning. June Mar (Fajardo) is a great guy, and if he goes for eight consecutive MVPs, I'll be there cheering the loudest."
"I just worry about winning, doing my role on this team, and helping this team get better," he added.
Standhardinger's words will surely be welcomed by San Miguel fans, even as they will have to wait for quite a while before seeing their "twin towers" in action. The Fil-German is expected to suit up for the Beermen in the Commissioner's Cup, at the earliest.
In the meantime, Standhardinger will be focused on helping Hong Kong Eastern retain its championship in the ASEAN Basketball League.
"I think (San Miguel) is a great team with a great winning culture," said Standhardinger. "After I play in the ABL, I'll give my best (for San Miguel)."
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