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Austria on Standhardinger's "straight from airport" career-high: "He is a warrior"

Chris Standhardinger erupted for 36 points for SMB a night after making 27 for the national team. PBA Media Bureau (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Many did not saw Chris Standhardinger playing for San Miguel in Quezon City despite being barely two hours off the plane from Jakarta coming.

But not head coach Leo Austria.

"We know from the start that he will be coming dahil we keep on communicating with him even before their last game. He is asking kung kailangan niya maglaro and we told him na of course, he is member of the team," Austria said on Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The multi-titled mentor, however, clarified that he did not require Standhardinger to play for the Beermen against the NLEX Road Warriors knowing that he is still tired from his Asian Games stint for Gilas Pilipinas.

"It [was] up to him," Austria continued.

However, he further said that he was not surprised that the six-foot-eight forward, the number one pick of last year's draft, would do such a stunt.

"I know he is a warrior at ang passion niya: maglaro nang maglaro," Austria quipped. "Nakita niyo naman na dumating siya during the warm-up and makikita pa natin na nagstre-streching pa siya doon sa court."

Standhardinger, who dropped back-to-back 27-point games for Gilas against Japan and Syria, put up with an even better scoring output for the Beermen, making 36 points, his PBA career-high, to lead them to as 125-112 win over the Road Warriors.

[Related Story: Returning Standhardinger posts career game to lift SMB over NLEX]

"I am so happy for him because he was able to show what is happening to him during the Asian Games," Austria lauded Standhardinger.

With Junemar Fajardo sidelined due to an injury, Austria said, "In the next few games, you will see a lot of Christian in the game."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno