SAN Miguel Beer is seeking to move on after losing a key player in the biggest trade of the season while Magnolia and Barangay Ginebra are playing each other as they renew their fabled Manila Clasico rivalry in the PBA Governors' Cup before an expected huge crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen take on the Dyip in the first game at 4:30 p.m., hoping it's going to be business as usual after giving away Christian Standhardinger in a blockbuster one-on-one deal with NorthPort that saw San Miguel get Mo Tautuaa in return.
The 6-foot-8 Fil-German cager whom SMB selected number one during the controversial 2017 Draft, scored just two points, grabbed two rebounds and one assist inside 16 minutes in what was his last game with SMB last Oct. 13. The Beermen lost that one – 129-124-- against the Gin Kings.
Standhardinger played a big role in SMB’s triumph in the kickoff Philippine Cup where he wound up second in scoring and rebounding behind June Mar Fajardo.
He also did an excellent job defending Talk ‘N Text’s explosive import Terrence Jones in the finals of the last Commissioner's Cup, thus ending up instrumental in the Beermen’s title win which also put them on the brink of another grand slam.
Coach Leo Austria succinctly put it: “Not a popular decision but a logical decision.”
"Malungkot ako na nawala si Christian dahil alam naman natin malaki naitulong niya sa championship namin in the last conference, even in the all-Filipino," said Austria as he explained the rationale behind the sudden trade.
"Pero nakikita ko, hindi enough, kulang na kulang, ang playing time niya because I have to stick kung ano core namin the last five years. Doon kami nananalo, eh," added Austria.
Austria stressed that Standhardinger is not happy with his playing time, which he added, he deserves.
"But because of the chemistry, especially kapag may import, limited talaga (playing) time n'ya. Kita mo naman last conference, pinaiikot ko na lang (frontcourt) rotation kay June Mar, Christian at import. Nawalan ng playing time doon si Nabong at saka Arwind, nabawasan iyon."
Tautuaa could be an entirely different case, since Fajardo has now feeling the ill effects of his extended playing chores with SMB and the national team. Aside from the ongoing Governors’ Cup, the five-time MVP is also with the Gilas Pilipinas squad seeing action in next month's SEA Games.
The Beermen are going for their fifth win in six outings, win that will put them in a tie with NLEX in second and third spots, behind league-leading TNT.
The Dyip on the other hand are seeking to bounce back from a 117-111 loss they suffered at the hands of NLEX last Oct. 16.
Magnolia and Ginebra collide in the main offering at 6:45 p.m. in another episode of their Manila Clasico that will complete the slambang Sunday double-header.
Against the Beermen, Justine Brownlee tallied scored 28 points, hauled down 14 rebounds and made 14 assists in a triple-double performance for the Gin Kings.
The Hotshots, on the other hand, are out to bounce back from a 95-89 loss to Blackwater last Oct. 16, in a game that saw their (Hotshots) former import Marqus Blakely put up big numbers with 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Elite.