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Fil-German honored to suit up for Gilas

MANILA, Philippines - Gilas center Christian Standhardinger said the other day he is more than honored to wear the Philippine colors with the national team, knowing how Filipinos love basketball and recognizing the Filipino values that his Filipina mother Elizabeth Santos Hermoso taught him growing up. The 6-8 Fil-German makes his debut with Gilas against Canada at the Jones Cup in Taipei this afternoon.

Standhardinger, 28, was brought up by his mother in Munich and has no contact with his German father Gunter. His parents are estranged. “I owe everything to my mother,” he said. “The biggest influences in my life are my mother and my books.  When I went to university in the US, I played basketball at Nebraska and Hawaii but it wasn’t just for the body, it was also for the mind. I believe in a good education and I graduated with a degree in business administration.”

Gilas big man Christian Standhardinger.
Standhardinger said his twin sisters Kristin and Kathrin, 27, share the same mindset. They played volleyball at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Georgia and earned business degrees. “I’m not sure if they’ll consider playing volleyball in the Philippines,” he said. “They’re now into beach volleyball. One sister is taking up her Master’s in business and the other is a real estate agent so they’re quite busy with other things.”

Standhardinger said before flying in from Berlin to join Gilas late last month, he had visited the Philippines twice before. “Once, when I was about 12 and another time, when I was 15 or 16,” he said. “It was for a holiday, just hitting the beaches, seeing the sights and visiting relatives. Now, it’s work. I have relatives all over the world, in the US, Germany and the Philippines. My mother’s cousin Christy (Santos) and her husband (Abet Florentino) live in Angono and when I get back from the Jones Cup, I hope to visit their place and meet my cousins and other relatives.”

At the moment, Standhardinger said he’s not sure what the future holds. An option is to apply for the PBA draft. He is qualified to join the pro draft without going through the PBA D-League because of his stint with the national team. “I can see living in the Philippines and playing basketball as an option,” he said.  “I’m not sure yet what I’ll do but playing in the PBA is definitely a goal. I’m adjusting to the Filipino game. In the German league, the players are much taller and bigger. I usually play four but with Gilas, I play five. I’m quicker than a lot of players in the German league but in the PBA, I know I’ll be one of the taller centers and there will be a lot of quicker players.”

Playing for Gilas head coach Chot Reyes is an experience that will only make Standhardinger a better player. “I’m learning a lot from coach Chot,” he said. “In my first practice with Gilas, I was rusty. I was coming off a break from the German league so I wasn’t in game shape. But I felt much better after every practice. I’m learning where to position myself, how to make better reads, where my teammates expect me to be on the court, when my teammates will cut so I can pass to them from the post. Coach Chot is showing me how I can be more efficient, how I can fit into his system. I work hard in everything I do. But I’ll admit my passion isn’t in practicing, it’s in playing the game.”

Source: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/07/15/1719755/fil-german-honored-suit-gilas

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