Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao believes that adding Christian Standhardinger in the lineup for Monday's game against Iran will help solve the speed mismatch issues that the team's frontline faced in Friday's loss to Kazakhstan.
Standhardinger will take the naturalized player spot in lieu of Stanley Pringle, who carried most of the scoring load in the first of two home games in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
"We will lose Stanley's scoring, we will lose his aggressiveness and his leadership at the point guard position, but we will gain Christian's quickness and his active play," said Guiao. "We're hoping that with Christian, we're able to remedy the defensive lapses that occurred because of our bigs being attacked by quicker bigs."
The 6-foot-8 Standhardinger admitted that he was raring to enter the court when he saw Gilas struggling against the Kazakhs.
"As a competitor, as an athlete, you always want to go in there and help your teammates," he said. "Everybody knows that I think June Mar [Fajardo] is such a great asset and Japeth [Aguilar] and Greg [Slaughter]. They're all so talented so I don't think that I should have been exchanged. But as a competitor, you always wanna help your teammates and that's always tough to watch games like that."
Now that he's part of the active lineup, Standhardinger hopes that he can deliver and contribute in the Philippines' quest to upset powerhouse Iran, especially after suffering a heartbreaking loss.
"It's always disappointing to lose and I think we all know that we had a good chance to win the game and unfortunately we did not," the San Miguel star said. "Hopefully, we get everything together on Monday and win against a much, much better team."
Naturalized players are usually expected to fill the stat sheet but Standhardinger is not worried about producing eye-popping numbers. He is confident that he can make an impact that goes beyond the box scores.
"You can affect basketball in so many different ways that you're not seeing in the stat sheet," he said. "I wanna go out there and no matter how many points and rebounds I [get], I know like my whole body is sore because I was hitting the deck three times and playing defense and running upwards, going back to the defensive rebound, running back in transition."
"I don't feel pressured to produce stats because if I don't produce stats, it's okay," he stressed. "But I do feel pressure playing for the country, I do feel pressure giving my all. I feel pressured to play my heart out and to play my best for the country."