Barangay Ginebra San Miguel bigman Christian Standhardinger could not believe when his name was called as the choice for the Finals Most Valuable Player award in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
“After everything was said and done, I had to sit down, just come down… People think it’s pure happiness if you win a championship. For me, it’s more of a relief and then therefore happiness comes after the relief. So, I was just sitting down there, enjoying the moment and then I heard my name, and I was surprised,” the six-foot-eight Standhardinger said.
The Kings stalwart earned the award after producing 10.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 steals in the Finals against the Bay Area Dragons.
It was Standhardinger’s first Finals MVP award but his fourth his title in the league, second with Ginebra.
“It’s much appreciated especially because I focus more on defense and normally the defensive-minded players don’t get awarded like that,” he said.
Standhardinger’s stifling defense against Dragons biggies Liu Chuanxing, Duncan Reid, and Andrew Nicholson proved to be the gamechanger.
Still, Standhardinger singled out Nicholson as his pick for the best import second to his teammate Justin Brownlee.
“Excluding Justin Brownlee, Andrew Nicholson, by far, the best import I have guarded,” he said.
“You know he played seven years in the National Basketball Association; you feel it. If he just has one open shot, it doesn’t make sense to go for the rebound anymore because it’s almost automatic.”
For Standhardinger, what makes this championship different from the ones he’s had with the San Miguel Beermen is that “this was one of the hardest.”
“They (Bay Area) were well-coached too. They’re spacing was so hard if you helped (then) the other side was open in the corner. And then, they have great shooters. They have a well-balanced team,” Standhardinger said.