THE clubhouse talk just won’t die down that easily: The missed Grand Slam for San Miguel Beer.
Just when everybody thought the Beermen were on their way to their second PBA Grand Slam, their grand design vanished into thin air. Just like that.
There are several factors that triggered their downfall, led by:
One, the departure of Christian Standhardinger.
And two, that ugly brawl involving some Beermen themselves during, of all occasions, practice.
Standhardinger, the 6-foot-8 Fil-German powerhouse, was shipped to Northport in exchange for Mo Tautuaa.
That didn’t sit well with many SMB fans, including me.
They are worlds apart.
While Standhardinger can shoot, rebound, pass, dribble coast-to-coast even, sink sure balls, not Tautuaa.
Tautuaa can rebound, yes, but, sadly, he cannot shoot, pass, dribble and, sadly again, he can’t bury even an unmolested shot. In short, he can hardly sink sure balls.
The question on who released Standhardinger is a no-brainer.
Of course, it was Leo Austria who gave the order. Only a coach knows best when it comes to either selecting or sending away a player.
I feel for Standhardinger.
His sudden shipment to Northport looked like he is not a marquee player.
Wasn’t it only two seasons ago that Standhardinger was the subject of a controversy sparked by what MVP’s group claimed was an anomalous trade that unfairly plucked away the Fil-German from MVP’s clutches?
So heated and emotion-charged was Standhardinger’s case that it led to the resignation of Chito Narvasa as PBA commissioner.
After Standhardinger’s exit came the brawl among Beermen Arwind Santos, Ronald Tubid, Kelly Nabong and SMB’s import after Arwind felled their import with a nasty nudge.
Dells left the country in a huff while Santos, Tubid and Nabong were suspended by SMB management indefinitely. Courageous.
Naturally, the team morale slipped unstoppably.
Soon enough, SMB got bundled out of the quarterfinals—and out of the Grand Slam—its two conference crowns falling by the wayside.
What a waste.