NORTHPORT has every intention to live up to its promise of providing Christian Standhardinger the much-needed support.
Erick Arejola, NorthPort’s representative to the PBA Board, yesterday admitted the 6-foot-7 Fil-German still has to accept their new offer after his old contract expired last December.
“Di pa pumipirma, pero iyung iba halos lahat pirmado na,” related the amiable executive.
Arejola would not openly say it, but one team insider said that NorthPort management had promised to give Standhardinger better support than the one he had in the last Philippine Cup bubble.
Standhardinger posted averages of almost 20 points and a tournament-best 12 rebounds, but only Sean Anthony, Garvo Lanete, Kelly Nabong and Kevin Ferrer were able to provide consistent support.
NorthPort’s campaign took a big hit when Anthony suffered an injury and the team went on to finish with just one win in 11 games.
Negotiations with Standhardinger should be quickened since things are sure to be vastly different this time, not only because all the injured players led by Anthony had fully recovered.
For the first time in years NorthPort has more than one first round pick in the coming PBA Rookie Draft, giving the Batang Pier coaching staff and management the pieces to add on to their arsenal.
NorthPort owns the rights to the Nos. 2 and 11 overall in what should be a super-stacked list that has 97 applicants.
That does not include the Batang Pier’s separate No. 2 pick in the special draft for Gilas Pilipinas players and the 13th pick overall.
The Mikee Romero-owned franchise has not had such an abundance of first round draft picks since owning the same number in 2012 and 2014 that sandwiched their three in 2013.
“Mananawa kami sa picks,” NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio noted in a previous interview.Picking first overall in both the special and regular drafts, Terrafirma is expected to go with 3×3 star Joshua Munzon.
That is just fine with NorthPort since it would be left with Jamie Malonzo and not purely because the 6-6 forward is a La Salle alumnus like Romero.
“Medyo malaki, athletic, inside-out ang laro,” Arejola pointed out.
The trickier question would be on who to take at Nos. 11 and 13, although Arejola is not too concerned with that.
“Kung sino ang best available talent left,” he said.
The second pick in the special round, which has Terrafirma, NorthPort and NLEX picking in that order from among Jaydee Tungcab, James Heading, Tzaddy Rangel, and William Navarro also poses no problem for Arejola.
“Kapag kinuha ng Terrafirma si Rangel, kasi kailangan nila ng malaki, okay kami with either Tungcab or Heading,” Arejola said.