PBA Saturday: Christian Standhardinger loves basketball

Special Olympics athlete Matthew Millett of Team USA with the 3/4 court buzzer beater!

San Miguel got off to a great start in the PBA Governors’ Cup after drubbing the NLEX Road Warriors, while Magnolia picked up its second win in as many games after hammering the NorthPort Batang Pier yesterday.

We’re bringing you Saturday night’s games right here.

Ball is life for Christian Standhardinger, indeed

The Beermen’s rookie big man could have sat out his team’s first game of the conference and no one would have batted an eye. He’s been the Philippines’ rock down under in their 2018 Asian Games campaign after all, holding his ground against bigger foes for a national team that had barely two weeks of practice under coach Yeng Guiao.

Instead, the Fil-German workhorse proceeded to head to the Araneta Coliseum straight from the airport and logged a career-high 36 points along with 11 rebounds and three steals to steer San Miguel to a 125-112 victory.

Standhardinger, who was red-hot in Indonesia for Rain or Shine-Pilipinas, took advantage of the momentum he clearly still had and checked in with 3.3 seconds left in the first quarter. He was almost unblemished in 27 minutes, hitting 14 of 17 shots from the field and knocking down eight out of 12 free throws.

San Miguel will definitely need more of his production down the stretch of this season as they’ll continue to miss June Mar Fajardo, who’s out with a shin injury for six to eight more weeks.

Backcourt magic for SMB
How are you going to stop an offense that’s driven to near-perfection by two guards?

NLEX didn’t seem to have an answer for Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross as the two combined to dish 17 of San Miguel’s 33 assists for the game. What’s more impressive is the two just had four turnovers between them.

Cabagnot finished with 23 points, nine assists and six rebounds, while Ross chipped in nine points, eight assists and five boards.

Welcome back, Arizona Reid

The two-time Best Import awardee is back for another run with the Beermen, and he didn’t waste time stamping his class. He scored 30 points on 14-for-28 shooting from the field, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out six assists in the win. Expect another torrid conference for Reid, whose familiarity with his team and the league’s physicality could spell all the difference for SMB’s title odds.

Mark Tallo continues to impress

Tallo will definitely get a lot of run as the Road Warriors continue to miss the services of Kiefer Ravena (suspension) and Kevin Alas (ACL injury). Against two of the peskiest backcourt defenders today, Tallo managed to hand out nine assists — a number which seems to be his career-best.

It’s good to have Mark Barroca back

Paul Lee didn’t do a Standhardinger by suiting up for Magnolia’s second game, but that didn’t prove to be a problem for coach Chito Victolero’s squad as he had more than enough depth to compensate for it in their 104-87 win over NorthPort.

At the forefront of the attack was Mark Barroca, who finished with 20 points (on 8-for-11 shooting from the field and 4-for-7 from downtown), three assists and five steals.

Barroca had a rocky Commissioner’s Cup, shooting just 34 percent from the field and 24 percent from downtown in a lot of minutes (29 per game). It looks like he’s making up for it this time; in the Hotshots’ first two games, the former FEU stalwart is posting 16.5 points 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals on a blistering 65 percent shooting from the field. He’s also knocking down 54 percent of this treys (3.5 per game).

Has Jalalon found his stride?
Jio Jalalon’s assist numbers continue to rise after another smooth performance last night, where the former Arellano star handed out eight assists in 20 minutes off the bench against an injury-riddled Batang Pier side.

He’s always been a willing passer, and Jalalon has showed that he’s capable of having the offense flow through him as he continues to grow in this league. In two games in the Governors’ Cup, he’s averaging 8.5 assists. These numbers might take a hit once Lee comes back, but it sure must be nice for Magnolia’s coaching staff knowing that they could rely on Jalalon to orchestrate whenever they need him to do so.

Jeric Fortuna reunites with coach Pido

The former UST Growling Tiger hasn’t had a remarkable PBA career so far, but it seems like we haven’t seen the last of him. NorthPort turned to Fortuna to solve its backcourt problems seeing that they still don’t have Stanley Pringle, who was still coming off an impressive campaign in the Asian Games, and Sean Anthony, Jeric Teng and Nico Elorde, who are all dealing with injuries.

Fortuna, however, was pretty quiet in his first game back under coach Pido Jarencio. He scored just two points (on 1-of-5 shooting), but he managed to grab four rebounds and hand out four assists.

Mo Tautuaa, point god?
Just kidding.

He led the team with six assists, but he tallied seven turnovers in the process. He added nine points and seven boards in 37 minutes.

(Photos from: PBA Images)

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