By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Thank you, Christian Standhardinger.
After willing Gilas Pilipinas to a gold medal finish during the recently concluded 2023 Southeast Asian Games, the current big man of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings just revealed that he will be retiring from the national team after six years of service.
Standhardinger made everything official after posting a lengthy message on his Instagram account last May 20, 2023, baring that Gilas’ championship match against Cambodia would be his final game wearing the national team jersey.
“The finals game marked a highly emotional day for me. Looking down in the locker room 30 minutes before tip-off at my swollen knees, I knew that this particular game would be my last appearance for the Gilas national team, proudly wearing the blue jersey,” wrote Standhardinger.
The Filipino-German first entered the realm of Gilas way back in 2017 where he immediately made an impact after helping the national team win the gold medal during the SEA Games held in Malaysia.
After his superb showing, Standhardinger then decided to put himself in the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft and was selected in the first round by the San Miguel Beermen.
The unorthodox bruiser helped June Mar Fajardo and head coach Leo Austria win multiple titles in San Miguel and quickly caught the attention of the Gilas program.
Standhardinger was then named to several Gilas rosters on the international stage and would always fill the energy guy role, sparking the national team through his effort and hustle to dive for the loose balls.
According to his Instagram post, one factor that triggered his decision is his health, sharing that he endured an injured knee since the PBA season started.
“I knew that my body could not withstand the double duty, and unfortunately, nothing showed that more clearly than this tournament, where the demands were intensified,” added Standhardinger.
Standhardinger will always go down as one of the best big men to ever don the white and blue jersey of Gilas. Thank you for the commitment, Stan the Bruiser!