Getting the nod to represent the country in any international tournament is already an honor for any player.
So to be named for two teams in back-to-back tourneys is incomparable feeling for Carl Bryan Cruz and Christian Standhardinger.
Despite the exhausting task at hand, the two ready for action as Chot Reyes picked them for both the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup and 2017 Southeast Asian Games squads.
“It’s going to be tiring, but opportunities like this is rare. You can’t mind fatigue if it’s for the country,” said Cruz in Filipino.
“I feel very honored that I’ll play for two tournaments for the Philippines. I think that means that the coaches like what they see or they wouldn’t let me participate in both. I’m going to try my best to help win us as a whole to win both tournaments,” Standhardinger added.
They will suit up in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon from August 8 to 20, before flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 2017 Sea Games from August 19 to 30.
“If we go to the semifinals, that means that we’re gonna play up to August 20, and that means they’re not gonna play the first game in the Sea Games. That’s gonna be a problem. (They’ll finish the Fiba Asia Cup) if we get to the Finals, of course. But if we don’t get to the Finals, then maybe we’ll send them early already to get to the Southeast Asian Games,” he said.
Reyes acknowledges that picking the two to backstop for both tourneys also comes with its own set of risks.
“If they’re playing with us in Fiba Asia, then they’re not practicing with the Southeast Asian Games team. The good thing with the Sea Games format is that there’s a semifinals and a Finals, so we could afford to lose. We play Thailand right away, but not that we’re planning to (lose), but we could afford an early loss and get them back in the semifinals and hopefully, still make the Finals in the Southeast Asian Games,” he said.
“I hope you can appreciate the difficult position that we’re in. This is really a testament, a test of adaptability and flexibility because this is the first time that this has happened. We’re planning for something that is really difficult.”
However, both Cruz and Standhardinger made it clear that whatever tournament they’re in, they’re still going to bring nothing but their 100-percent on the floor.
“For me, it’s for the country. I’ll do my part and whatever coach Chot wants me to do,” said the bruising Alaska forward.
The Fil-German big man added: “I’m going to be ready.”
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