C-Stan standing tough

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CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER stands tall and mighty as the virtual Best Player of the Conference following his consistent explosive performance in the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup.

The 6-foot-7 Filipino-German averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists after 15 games in the conference—including his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s semifinals sweep of San Miguel Beer ((SMB)—to amass 42.8 Statistical Points (SPs).

SMB’s CJ Perez ran second with 39.3 SPs followed by another Gin King, Jamie Malonzo, with 34.7 SPs.

SPs are no longer collected in the Finals—where Ginebra meets TNT in a race-to-four series starting Easter Sunday—with the conference’s top player getting his award in Game 4.

But the 35-year-old Standhardinger—he with the unorthodox but lethally effective brand of basketball—wanted the championship more than the individual trophy.

“I’m honored. But at the end of the day, I have to focus on winning a championship for my teammates, for our families and for our organization,” Standhardinger told BusinessMirror on Tuesday. “That’s what’s important and that’s what matters.”

With his SPs locked in for a 45-percent guarantee, Standhardinger only needs the votes from media (30 percent) and his fellow players (25 percent) to hoist the trophy.

Standhardinger’s scoring and hustle contributed immensely to Ginebra’s shot at a fifth Governors’ Cup title—and 16th overall crown in the PBA.

Perez averaged 20.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 15 games while Malonzo registered 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds.

TNT’s Roger Pogoy also has 34.7 SPs at fourth place while reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson was at No. 5 with 34.3 SPs.

TNT’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson totalled 57.1 SPs on 30.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists to lead the race for the Best Import award, with Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee in second place with 52.5 SPs on 27. 3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.9 assists.

CARIASO BOSSING COACH

JEFFREY CARIASO is back in the PBA as head coach of Blackwater—eight months after he was relieved by Converge.

“It’s a very challenging job but I’m thankful for the trust and confidence given to me by Dioceldo Sy [team owner],” Cariaso told BusinessMirror on Tuesday. “I’m excited for the opportunity to resume my coaching career. The goal is to go up with Blackwater and have a fresh start.”

He replaced Ariel Vanguardia.

Blackwater went 3-9 won-lost in the previous Commissioner’s Cup and 1-10 in the Governors’ Cup. The Elite were 10-36 under Vanguardia from 2021 to 2023.

He, however, has yet to sign the contracts.

“We have already agreed in principle and personally, I am happy with the contract,” he said. “But I have not technically signed it yet so it’s not official so far. But it looks good as I saw it and we are talking.”

Cariaso, 50, won eight championships with Alaska, including the 1996 grand slam. He was the 1996 Rookie of the Year.

He was one of Tim Cone’s assistant at Alaska and was eventually named the defunct team’s head coach in 2019. He was retained when Converge bought the Fred Uytengsu franchise but was relieved August last year.

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