Christian Standhardinger still attended Gilas Pilipinas' practice on Monday, along with 14 other players of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games pool, at the Meralco Gym in Pasig even after news came out that he was traded to NorthPort.
Gilas coach Tim Cone said Standhardinger, who declined to address the media and immediately left after a shortened session, was in good spirits and didn't seem like the trade affected him much.
"Great. He was great. Smiling, happy. No problem. We were wondering if he was gonna come. I'm thrilled that he came. He could've easily said he didn't wanna come and deal with the press. But he chose to come. Real proud of him for coming. Really shows me he wants to be here," said Cone. "If he didn't take this seriously, he would have found an excuse. This would have been a good excuse not to show up, and I'm real happy."
Standhardinger could form a lethal combination with star rookie Robert Bolick upon his arrival to the Batang Pier, who currently hold the eighth spot in the standings with a 2-4 record. The 2017 first overall pick has only averaged 3.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 block in just 12.8 minutes after four contests so far, but Cone expects those numbers to take a massive leap.
"I think he's gonna be a monster at NorthPort. That's just my own opinion. He's gonna be a monster over there. It's tough to back up a June Mar (Fajardo), five-time MVP. It's like being a backup to Michael Jordan. No one knows who you are, nobody really cares. He's gonna go out there and be his own man and he's gonna put up monster numbers," he said.
"If I was him, I'd be excited because I'm gonna go over and be putting up monster numbers. He knows he can. I think he will," Cone added.
Standhardinger was joined by former San Miguel teammates June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross, TNT's Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario, Alaska's Vic Manuel, Phoenix's Matthew Wright, and Ginebra's Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, Art dela Cruz and Greg Slaughter.
Cone cut the practice short, saying that he didn't wanna tax the players, especially those who played with their PBA teams on Sunday.
"We're going at 80 percent speed. Today we did no offense-defense. It was all five-on-zeroes. I really wanted to be careful with the guys and not push them too hard. We were very specific on what we wanted to do. Mostly worked on our offense, but we gotta get out of that because we can't spend all of our time on offense and start doing some things defensively," he explained.
"We planned to do three things today, we only got two done. I could've done it longer, but I could see the concentration was waning. Some guys are injured. I'm really trying hard to keep it at a level where guys are still interested in coming and we can still get things done. I'm always gonna be disappointed that we didn't get everything done. That's the way I am. But these guys pick up things so fast, I'm not worried. We still got time. They know everything instinctively as it is."
"It's just a matter of making sure Jayson's instincts are the same as June Mar's instincts, Troy same as Greg's because they play different systems. So we gotta try to bring them all together," he added.
Cone, though, implored players to keep on attending whether or not the practices are fast-paced and heavy.
"Right now for me, participation is the most important thing. They don't have to go hard, but they have to participate. As hard as it is, you have to be here. Trust me, I've been here a while. I've been on the other side where I don't want my players doing a hard practice with Gilas," he said.
"We have to be smart. This is something our coaching staff has talked about. And this is something we're also asking our players. Our trainers are talking to the players, asking what they think of the practice, if it's too hard, if they're tired, if they hurt anything. We're getting good feedback so far."