MANILA, Philippines -- Christian Standhardinger did not speak to reporters after Gilas Pilipinas practice on Monday night, but that he showed up at all was a big deal for Coach Tim Cone.
A few hours ahead of the national team's practice at Meralco Gym, the PBA announced that it approved Standhardinger's trade from San Miguel to NorthPort, with the Beermen receiving Mo Tautuaa in exchange.
"I'm proud of him for coming. It shows me he really wants to be here," Cone said of Standhardinger.
"If he were just not taking this very seriously, then he would found an excuse. This would have been a good excuse not to show up."
Not only did Standhardinger attend practice, but Cone also noted that the player was "smiling and happy."
"He's a pro," Cone said. "He's been around. He's not a rookie. He's new to the league, pretty much, but he's been through the wars, he's been to Germany and played all over the world."
"And, he knows what the business is like," he added.
Cone, who envisioned Standhardinger as an "import stopper" for Gilas Pilipinas in the Southeast Asian Games, has no doubts that the Fil-German forward will prosper in NorthPort.
The No. 1 pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, Standhardinger is averaging just 3.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, but Cone expects that to change once he is wearing the Batang Pier uniform.
"I think he's gonna be a monster at NorthPort. That's just my own opinion," said Cone. "He's gonna be a monster over there."
"It's tough to back up a June Mar (Fajardo), five-time MVP, you know. It's like being the back-up to Michael Jordan. Nobody knows who you are, nobody really cares," he added.
In NorthPort, Standhardinger has a golden opportunity to come into his own, says Cone.
"If I was him I would be excited because I'm gonna go over and I'm gonna be putting up monster numbers. He knows he can, so I think he will," said the coach.
Standhardinger helped the Philippines win gold in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, and played for Hong Kong Eastern in the ASEAN Basketball League before starting his PBA career with San Miguel. He helped the Beermen win the championships in the 2019 Philippine and Commissioner's Cups, and was a member of last season's all-rookie team.
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