With Christian Standhardinger playing for the enemy on Sunday, there was a handful of fans who booed the Fil-German big man inside Mall of Asia Arena.
But that was the least of Standhardinger’s concerns.
His focus was to lead Hong Kong to victory and he delivered at the expense of Tanduay Alab Pilipinas to open their campaign in the 2018 Asean Basketball League.
“I didn’t hear the booing. I think I just love the Filipino fans so if they cheer for me or boo me, it’s okay,” He said after the Eastern Long Lions’ 92-89 win.
Making his Philippine debut on Sunday, Standhardinger made his ABL debut in front of Filipino fans and passed his first test with flying colors with 26 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
His presence in the endgame was also crucial in Hong Kong holding off the home team with two crucial buckets in the final 20 seconds.
Standhardinger said that he likes what he sees with his new team, which is aiming back-to-back titles.
“It’s good. We’re a great team and you see them fighting hard. They’re good guys and we just have to improve even more and work hard. I hope we come out of this season with more victories,” he said.
Standhardinger also commended Alab and his former Gilas Pilipinas teammate Bobby Ray Parks, who led the late game rally and almost stole the win.
“They really got everything in us. And Ray was a killer,” he said.
“Luckily, we just stuck together because it was really hard. You can lose your focus, you can lose in your emotions. We got frustrated, but we kept going. We kept working hard and in the end, we came out with a victory as good as they are. I was just happy it was us who got the win.”
Standhardinger hopes to hear cheers from the Filipino crowd next time he plays in the country.
“I hope someday I can hear the cheers again. But today, it’s all good. It’s all love. I was so excited because the gym is full. What a great atmosphere,” he said. “This is what I love about the Philippines. They’re a great basketball country. We have a great basketball country. That’s why I love coming back here.“
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