Out of 16 hopefuls Coach Yeng Guiao has in the player pool for Gilas Pilipinas, only 12 players will have the honor to once again carry our national flag in the continuation of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
With a stacked PBA selection at his disposal, Coach Yeng has a difficult but otherwise good problem before him. One of the most difficult decisions is choosing between Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger as the naturalized player for the national team.
Come September 13, the Philippines will be facing Iran at their home court in Tehran. And since Gilas got back to Manila after an encouraging stint in the 2018 Asian Games, practices have been in full swing.
Although both Pringle and Standhardinger were practicing with the team at the Meralco Gym, it’s still hard to tell which of them Gilas will take to Iran.
Stanley Pringle is without a doubt one of the best guards we’ve ever seen in the PBA. Standing at around 6’1”, Pringle is pretty fast on the court not only on his feet but also with his hands. It doesn’t stop there. Pringle is quick at judging the situation on the floor as well. He understands the defense being put up against him and can decide whether he should take a perimeter shot, drive and kick, or attack the basket.
On the other hand, there’s Christian Standhardinger, who took everyone by surprise when he dominated the Gilas games once he got the hang of it. At 29 years of age, the Fil-German brute bulldozed everyone who stood in his way. It didn’t matter if the big men from the other countries stood taller or jumped higher than he did. It didn’t faze him when he got repeatedly blocked by Zhou Qi, the 7’1” center of China. He kept attacking the paint and kept getting fouled. After missing a ton of shots at the line in the victory against Kazakhstan during their first game, Standhardinger worked on his free throws immediately. Now he doesn't miss.
We’d have to choose between an already super-talented player in Pringle versus a well-developing star in Standhardinger. A fast-paced and crafty ball-handling scorer or a tough never-say-die bruiser?
Our judgment at this time would be to pick Christian Standhardinger, and here’s why. Against the towering giants of Iran, we need more height and force on the low block in order to compete with them. Standhardinger’s style of play--in-your-face and determined--may actually be the x-factor we need to topple over the titans of Iran.
We are in no way discounting the obvious skills and talents of Stanley Pringle because we are fans of both guys, but strategy-wise, we’d have to go with the bigger man.