C-Stan expects intense semis


BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel and San Miguel Beer clash in Game 1 of their semifinals series in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup—a clash between sister teams Gin King big man Christian Standhardinger expects to be intense.

“I believe it’s going to be a very, very hard series, there are many talents from there [Beermen] who we need to contain,” the 6-foot-7 Filipino-German Standhardinger told BusinessMirror on Thursday.

The opener of the best-of-five series is set 3 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

“It’s going to be an intense best-of-five series,” said Standhardinger, who’s getting more minutes manning the shade and grabbing rebounds as Japeth Aguilar sits out with an injury.

Standhardinger said that the Beermen’s high-scoring import, Cameron Clark, will be a force to reckon with.

“It’s a very tough match up and he’s a great import,” said Standhardinger of Clark, who’s weaving averages of 29.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists. “You just can do your best and focus on defense to contain him, but it’s always a collective effort in defense.”

But Standhardinger himself has been playing big with norms of 22.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists to lead the statistical points race with 42.8 ahead of Beermen CJ Perez (39.3 SPs) and June Mar Fajardo (37.6 SPs).

Standhardinger’s a top contender for the Best Player of the Conference award, but stressed that’s not his priority.

“I’m so honored but I have to focus on winning the semifinals and then win more championships for my team, for my family and teammates,” he said.

The Gin Kings were 8-3 won-lost in the eliminations and eliminated NLEX outright, 127-93, in the quarterfinals.

TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco also begin their best-of-five semifinals series at 5:45 p.m.

“Christian [Standhardinger] stepped up exactly when we needed him to,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “He’s always been in a time-sharing position with Japeth [Aguilar] and that has shortened his minutes.”

San Miguel Beer, coach Jorge Gallent, meanwhile, said playing crowd-favorite Ginebra in a best-of-five series is a “very difficult challenge.”

“Nothing comes easy now. We are in the playoffs. I am expecting we are going to have a hard time in the semifinals,” said Gallent, whose team will be playing without the injured 6-foot-11 June Mar Fajardo (left knee).

Top seed TNT routed No. 8 Phoenix Super LPG, 132-105, behind Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s triple-double of 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, while Meralco beat Magnolia in overtime, 113-107, on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals.

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