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Standhardinger makes impact with right reads

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Christian Standhardinger (with ball) has been working hard on that mid-range game. —PBA IMAGES

Christian Standhardinger (with ball) has been working hard on that mid-range game. —PBA IMAGES

Around April last year, Christian Standhardinger candidly spoke about approaching the game differently in a bid to get the most out of his aging knees.

A little over a year later, the Barangay Ginebra ace continues to play splendidly, emerging as the club’s foremost weapon in a grueling seven-game semifinal showdown with tough-as-nails Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup.

“You just try to read what the defense is giving you and that’s what it was,” he said, with his signature deadpan expression, after an 89-84 Game 5 victory at Mall of Asia Arena that had the crowd darlings taking control of the series.

“Coach (Tim Cone) tells me to shoot [the basketball] if [I am] open. So obviously, I took it. But, it’s more about the decision-making,” he added. “The challenge for me—or for us—this semifinals run is they (the Bolts) change a lot of the coverage and I’m just trying to make the right reads and make the right decisions.”

Standhardinger had 34 points and 10 rebounds that night, bringing his semifinal averages to 22.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. He could’ve easily had more if not for the effort he also puts into playmaking.

The top pick of the 2017 Rookie Draft there is nothing drastic behind his sustained fine play this series.

“My prep doesn’t change. But what I’ve changed is my reaction to what they do,” he said of the Bolts, who have been trying their darndest in putting up a challenge from the battle-hardened Raymond Almazan to rookie Brandon Bates.

“I’m just trying to make the right reads and I think we have a great video analyst with Pat (Partosa) and the rest of the coaching staff. So just watching film, and listening to what they have to say, helps a lot, too,” he added.

Cone, however, did not let Standhardinger continue to make his feat seem minor.

“If you saw us in practice, you’ll see how much Christian works on that shot,” he said of his mid-range jumper which allowed the do-it-all forward to finish Game 5 with an efficient 12-for-17 shooting.

“He has faith in [his shot], we have faith in it. And when guys are going to back off of him like they do [against] his drive, he’s going to be able to take that shot and make it. And he did that with a really high percentage tonight. That’s just through the really hard work that he does,” he added. INQ



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