The late entry of Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger in the coming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft is a welcome development for Kia.
The Picanto franchise has the best chance of making the 6-foot-8 center as its top pick in the rookie draft, set on October 29.
And even if Standhardinger signed a six-month deal with the Asean Basketball League (ABL) defending champion Hong Kong Eastern Lions, Kia does not mind waiting for the prized center.
“In my own honest opinion, Christian Standhardinger is a player you can build a franchise around on. He can be an immediate impact player that has the ability to turn around a struggling team and make them competitive instantly,” Gavina told The Manila Times on Tuesday.
Standhardinger, 28, submitted his application to the PBA office early Monday via email.
“With what I’ve said, I would be willing as a coach to wait for him until he would be eligible to play in the PBA upon drafting him,” added Gavina.
Standhardinger played as naturalized player for the Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon where he averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds. He was also part of the gold-medal PH 5 in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games.
Kia team manager Eric Pineda was also ecstatic on the addition of Standhardinger in the draft pool.
“In basketball, size matters and most probably he will be the cornerstone of the Kia franchise. He (Standhardinger) is definitely a game changer and we own our pick this year,” said Pineda.
Standhardiner will be available for the team that will select him during the Commissioners’ Cup in May or June next year as he’s committed to play in the ABL starting this November.
Kia posted a 3-8 record both in the Philippine Cup and the Commissioner’s Cup. It remains winless after eight games in the Governors’ Cup, making the team a strong contender to select first in the draft.
NLEX and Blackwater are the two other teams that can challenge the Picanto for the top pick.