So Gilas Pilipinas got back from their dismal outing against South Korea by whipping Iraq. The thing about this match however is the physicality. Carl Bryan Cruz did a lot of things aside from hitting jumpers and that probably sent the enemies to dig deep and bring out their Oscar-bait acting.
At one point, Cruz got elbowed by an Iraqi and he retaliated by magically whacking the said opponent to his face.
But perhaps the worst thing about this match is his falling out with Christian Standhardinger. The Fil-German sat out due to foul trouble early in the game and when he returned late in the third quarter, he kind of… did stuff to piss off his coach.
A few days ago, Standhardinger and Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes had a publicized spat (as per Spin.ph). The 28-year-old is an exceptional inside player but he has quite a temper and apparently, as per Andy Jao during the Iraq broadcast… an attitude. Standhardinger is a beast but he also has his flaws. He thinks he is a point guard. He strays from plays, needs to improve his offense, and just like what we saw in lieu to his vanishment, Christian Standhardinger has a knack to commit bad plays.
Now Chot Reyes isn’t fond of physical play. Remember a few years ago when he distanced himself from the obvious talents of Calvin Abueva because the Alaska forward back then was volatile as fuck? And remember a few years back when he benched Mark Yee for poking the ass of Petron import Anthony Grundy? Sure, people could call him soft… but he is the only active coach in the country to send our basketball team to the FIBA World Championship. Ato Agustin can make him cry for as long as he wants but as mentioned… he is instrumental for getting the country to international basketball heaven. But it’s not like he’s going to let his team curl up and die… as evidence with past matches that had the likes of Ranidel de Ocampo fighting a Kuwaiti. Sure, RDO is also a hothead… but it’s not like Reyes can’t control his ward.
And with regards to Reyes not standing up to his team, remember that brawl between Wynne Arboleda and that fan? People forget that the Burger King Whoppers were playing against the Original Gilas squad. The Snatcher gave Mac Baracael a nasty foul and instead of thrashing The Snatcher, they just helped out their teammate. Rajko Toroman kept his wards on the bench even if the war has escalated to the stands.
Because of the technical foul, Iraq was given free throws and possession that trimmed down the Gilas Pilipinas lead with less than four minutes left in the game.
It’s not the physical play Reyes is ranting about with regards to Standhardinger. Cruz had more shots compared to CS but he still played significant minutes. Cruz stood out as a smaller version of Ranidel de Ocampo. Standhardinger punched the player and then motioned to the scoreboard as if to tell his coach that the game is already done with.
If Reyes can get the respect from the likes of Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Marc Pingris, and even 3-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo… then what about Standhardinger? Imagine if Standhardinger played in a system where Yeng Guiao is coach? What about Tim Cone?
People forget the reason why we have Asian imports (not right now though) is to initiate a workable environment with our neighbors.
Even the best players need to have their egos check!
Much like Matthew Wright a year ago, Standhardinger will use his Gilas stint to make his presence felt for the 2017 PBA Draft. So he needs to check his emotions because what the Iraqi did is baby food compared to the things most PBA players will unload on him.
But I do doubt Reyes’ decision to take little regard of inside operators when he formed his team. Sans Standhardinger, Reyes has to rely on Raymar Jose, Mac Belo, Fonso Gotladera, and Kobe Paras. Whatever happened to Arnold Van Opstal and what was the reason behind the acquisition of Mike Myers? I know Myers is a TNT standby import but Myers doesn’t fit the mold of Blatche and even Marcus Douthit. And in the 17-man roster, Chot could have given spots to the likes of Troy Rosario, Raymond Almazan, and even Moala Tautuaa. Gilas Pilipinas lacked inside presence. Myers can board but his offensive arsenal is limited. What about Asi Taulava? He’s barely playing for NLEX! They also could have given Gabe Norwood a spot as well. Bobby Ray Parks has had a disappointing Jones Cup stint.
As mentioned, the Jones Cup is a learning experience for most of the young Gilas players… including Standhardinger. I think a player with the caliber of Standhardinger can tame Reyes with his outstanding plays. He just needs to smarten up his gameplay.
(By the way, I got the image from Lunar Temptation’s Youtube page)