MANILA, Philippines -- In acquiring Christian Standhardinger from NorthPort, Barangay Ginebra received not just a great player but also a great leader, according to head coach Tim Cone.
The reigning All-Filipino champions strengthened their line-up even further when they traded for the Fil-German standout last March. In exchange, the Gin Kings sent Greg Slaughter, another former top overall draft pick, to the Batang Pier.
Cone has already worked with Standhardinger in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and believes that he and veteran forward Japeth Aguilar will form a tremendous partnership in the Ginebra frontcourt.
"Christian has been really receptive to what we're doing," said Cone during an appearance on "The Chasedown" recently.
"Mostly I see him right now in Zoom meetings, but he's active in those Zoom meetings," he added.
Based on their interactions on the virtual platform, Cone already appreciates what Standhardinger can bring to the team.
"I think he's not only gonna be a great player for us, but I think he's gonna be a great leader for us as well," said the coach. "He has that kind of take-charge personality, and he backs it up, because he works so hard."
"He does all the dirty work and he works so hard. Those are the kinds of leaders that can really back up what they're saying," he added.
It remains to be seen when Standhardinger can make his debut for Barangay Ginebra, as the opening of the PBA is still up in the air due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country. As it stands, PBA teams had to stop their small group practices and revert to online training when "NCR Plus" was placed under strict quarantine measures this month.
When Standhardinger does suit up for Ginebra, Cone expects him to provide versatility and energy in their game.
"I think that Christian will change the way we play, just because of his versatility, both offensively and defensively," said Cone. "He's quicker up the floor, he's a little bit more versatile defensively. He can switch out and guard smaller guys if necessary."
"And he just has that motor, that huge motor to get to the rebounds and run the floor," he added.
Standhardinger, 31, was drafted first overall by San Miguel Beer in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft. He won two championships with the Beermen before being traded to NorthPort in 2019, where he won Best Player of the Conference honors in the Governors' Cup.
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