Standhardinger absent again, but 'engaging' demeanor leaves NorthPort optimistic

Christian Standhardinger was absent from NorthPort practice on Oct. 17 but will still likely debut for the Batang Pier on Oct. 23. KC Cruz/ESPN5

NorthPort newcomer Christian Standhardinger was not present during the team's practice Thursday morning, but his second absence in his first three days with the team did not do much to affect everyone's positive outlook on the big man.

Coach Pido Jarencio was not able to provide a comment after immediately leaving the team's practice facility when the session finished, though a team source told ESPN5.com that Standhardinger simply attended a doctor's appointment for a routine checkup on his left knee.

The Filipino-German center showed up for the first time on Wednesday and immediately left a good impression on his new teammates even as his trademark placid behavior was still in display.

"He's good to us. Of course when you're new to the team, one really tends to be shy. Maybe in a couple of weeks, maybe he'll come out of his shell," star guard Robert Bolick told ESPN5.com in Filipino.

"He even owes us pizza. You know, since he's new to the team," Jerramy King laughed. "But he's been great, talking to everyone during and after workouts."

A source said Standhardinger himself engaged players and staff first in an effort to familiarize himself with the rest of the team. "Sabi nila may sarili raw mundo, but that's just the way he is. That doesn't seem to be a problem here. He's not as playful as the rest of the players, but he's kind and he was responsive."

More than the positive communication, players also liked how Standhardinger was immediately able to pick up concepts on both ends of the floor.

"He learns fast. I've been teammates with him over at the Gilas cadets' program in 2017. He gets everything on both offense and defense. He's a big help to us," said Kevin Ferrer.

"At least we really have that pure center now. He'll dominate the paint. He should expect a lot of touches and playing time here," Bolick said. "Whatever Mo brought to the game, I'm sure Christian can provide the same results."

"It's a win-win situation, added Bolick.

A team official said the 2017 first overall pick will return to practice on Friday, five days before he could make his NorthPort debut against his old team San Miguel on Oct. 23 at the Cuneta Astrodome.