MANILA, Philippines—Christian Standhardinger gave plenty of credit to his teammates at NorthPort Batang Pier after taking home the Best Player of the Conference honors for the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.
The top pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, Standhardinger served mostly as a backup at San Miguel Beer and averaged just 3.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in the first four games of the conference, playing less than 13 minutes per game.
He was traded to the NorthPort Batang Pier early in the conference, and immediately put up monster numbers while averaging over 40 minutes. He normed 22.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game for NorthPort, and helped them pull off an upset of top-seeded NLEX in the quarterfinals.
"I have to really appreciate my teammates," Standhardinger said upon receiving his trophy on Wednesday night. "They put me in a great position."
"It was so much fun last conference to play with them and fight with them. I feel like this is more of a team award than it is anything else," he added. "I'm really just thankful to my coach in NorthPort and to my teammates that it worked out. I'm honored, I'm honored."
It was an unexpected award for Standhardinger, but he acknowledged that his new role at NorthPort played a major factor in him getting the individual honor.
"I think you have to make it under the Top 5 if you have a certain amount of stats. Obviously, a guy who plays 40 minutes, it's easier to score 20 points a game than when you play 10 or 15 minutes," said Standhardinger. "Of course, it does play a role."
From being a back-up at San Miguel, Standhardinger became the focal point once he got to NorthPort. His minutes spiked, as did his numbers and his responsibility on the squad.
It was a change that took some getting used to.
"Obviously, I would have been honored to have the chance to get the Grand Slam (with San Miguel)," said Standhardinger. "But I got traded, and that's the business."
"And now, I have to adjust again. Now, I have to change myself as a player. NorthPort needed a little bit more scoring for me," he added. "I did that, and I'm happy that it worked out as much as it did."
Getting the BPC trophy won't change Standhardinger's mindset, however. He still harbors some disappointment over the team's failure to advance to the finals, and his focus is already on the improvements that he and the rest of the Batang Pier need to make before the next season.
He said he is working on his free throw shooting, after making just 60.3% of his attempts from the stripe last conference. He is also trying to develop his left hand in an effort to be more versatile.
"To be honest with you, there are a lot of things I should work on," said Standhardinger. "But I was lucky so far that I was able to compensate with my hustle and my puso, and still somehow affect the teams that I played for in a positive way of winning games."
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