Revisiting the Pringle vs. Standhardinger debate for Team Pilipinas

After two games playing with different “non-local” naturalized players in Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle, we finally have an idea of how each affects the dynamics of Team Pilipinas.

How did each of them fare?

Standhardinger vs. Iran: 30 pts, 12 rebs, 1 ast, 2 stls, 6 TOs, +/- (-1), 32 mins
Pringle vs. Qatar: 13 pts, 6 rebs, 3 asts, 2TOs, +/- (+11), 24 mins

Looking at the raw numbers alone, Standhardinger clearly has the advantage over Pringle. The Fil-German continued his impressive international stint stemming from the Asian Games by leading all scorers and rebounders in the game against Iran. His unorthodox moves and unmatched hustle has proven to be effective and has continuously baffled opponents.

Some downsides to his performance against Iran were the six turnovers and that the Philippines was outscored (albeit only by one point) while he was on the floor. The fact that the team lost could also lead to questions regarding the effectivity of allowing Standhardinger to get his stats when it comes to winning. After all, Team Pilipinas did only finish fifth in the Asian Games despite Standhardinger performing well.

Pringle’s numbers against Qatar, albeit solid all-around, definitely pale in comparison to Standhardinger’s. But focusing on comparing Pringle’s stats head-to-head with Standhardinger’s understates the impact that he made on the team. The Fil-American’s presence on the team allowed Team Pilipinas to play a more up-tempo and balanced style that took its toll on Qatar, particularly in the second half when the Philippines rallied back from a 17-point deficit. This was precisely what Coach Yeng Guiao wanted to happen when he chose Pringle over Standhardinger for the game.

Pringle finished the game as a +11 for the team, exactly the difference in the final score (92-81). It must be noted, however, that Qatar is a significantly weaker opponent compared to Iran and that Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright – two virtual locks for the national team if all possible players were available for selection – were able to resume playing for the team after serving their one-game suspension.

While Standhardinger had the more impressive individual game, Pringle was able to visibly contribute to a win and impact the game in ways that go beyond just the box score. Despite only having one-game samples for each, these takeaways will probably remain true moving forward.

Standhardinger will always have more potential to produce big statistical nights due to his size and style of play while Pringle will always have to “settle” for affecting the team in intangible ways due to his size as well as the glut of talented guards at the country’s disposal who also need their fair share of opportunities.

The strengths and weaknesses of selecting either player are apparent, and the match-ups will always determine which player is best-suited for each particular game. The availability of players for the team will also factor in the decision. The possibility of June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter playing in a game will alter the need for Standhardinger as much as Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo (and eventually Kiefer Ravena) will for Pringle.

Thankfully, the dilemma of having to select between Standhardinger and Pringle is eased by the new FIBA format of having multiple international windows throughout the year. Now, the team has the luxury of selecting whichever player they feel like they need more for a particular game.

At the end of the day, however, it is not about who gets selected and who gets left out. It is always going to be about doing what’s best for the country.

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