Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger and the rest of the underrated stars from the Philippine Basketball Association received praise from netizens on social media for answering the call of duty to serve as the country’s representatives in the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games.
With other so-called superstars staying away from the competition, citing family and personal commitments, coach Chot Reyes had to make do with “volunteers” willing to wear the Gilas uniform in the competition regarded as the “lowest” in terms of international prestige.
But the stakes have become higher, however, as the Philippines is aiming to redeem its pride and the basketball gold medal that was snatched by Indonesia in last year’s edition in Vietnam.
Indonesia, boosted by several Indonesian-foreign players, is seriously intent on keeping the crown as it set up camp in Australia and played with several professional teams. They even reportedly beat a squad from the National Basketball League.
Standhardinger was among the few to answer the national team’s call and reported early for practice even though he was banged up from the recent Governors’ Cup Finals.
And netizens were quick to shower him with praise.
“He is more Filipino than most Filipinos. He is serving the country with no complaints or excuses. I Salute you CStan with both hands,” said Michael Buminaang.
“One of the most admirable guys in the league gives little to no reasons when playing the game and gives his all,” Ian Depositario added.
An obvious Ginebra fan even branded Standhardiner as a hero.
“CStan is truly Filipino, he had the blood of our heroes who is willing to sacrifice their personal interests just to fight for the country’s pride and honor. CStan is the Man I salute you! NSD! (Never Say Die).”
Netizens also praised NLEX Warrior veteran Sean Anthony, who volunteered to be a practice player even if he was not invited.
“I admire Sean Anthony also, even though he is not called for Gilas, duty he volunteered himself for practice, while those so-called deserving, wala ‘di nasipot,” said Yetzkie Cortado.
Reyes will now have the luxury of choice a week before the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
Ginebra import and naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee has also committed to play for Gilas in the SEA Games.
Others, who have joined practices already were Jeremiah Gray, Mason Amos of Ateneo, Ben and Mike Philipps of La Salle, Aaron Black and Chris Newsome of Meralco, Brandon Rosser of NLEX, Arvin Tolentino of Northport and CJ Perez and Chris Ross of San Miguel.
Gilas Pilipinas will begin its title-redeeming bid against Malaysia on May 9, before taking on Cambodia on May 11, and Singapore on May 13.