Letran revs up recruitment machine with help from SMC, sets sights on Cansino
UST star CJ Cansino has become a recruitment target of Letran. Marlo Cueto

THE first major move of the Letran–San Miguel Corp. partnership is to try and bring in one of the country’s top collegiate prospects over to Intramuros.

Sources said the Knights will try to move mountains to lure UAAP juniors MVP CJ Cansino, a show of renewed commitment to strengthening the team through recruitment in partnership with SMC through its sports director Al Francis Chua.

Cansino on Tuesday told SPIN.ph he is leaning towards staying at University of SantoTomas and joining the Tigers after his impressive run with the school's juniors side, but that hasn't stopped Letran from taking a shot at the 6-2 wingman.

Blue-chip prospects changing their minds at the last minute is not uncommon. Just last year, former NCAA juniors MVP Troy Malilin was considered a lock to play for La Salle before being swayed to move to Ateneo.

Letran's third-year coach Jeff Napa is willing to make a bid to convince the UST star to join a team that is full of promise with fresh recruits becoming eligible to join a core led by Bong Quinto, JP Calvo, Jeo Ambohot and Jerrick Balanza.

Among the new boys eligible to play this season for the Knights are former University of the East stars Bonbon Batiller and Fran Yu, ex-La Salle slotman Larry Muyang, former Benilde standout Christian Fajarito and sharpshooter Koi Galvelo, who last played for St. Clare College.

Letran officials hope Cansino would be the Knights’ biggest recruit in recent years that’s not directly from the Squires program.

Their high school program produced the likes of Kevin Alas, Rey Nambatac and Quinto but the Knights were never the destination of blue-chip recruits over the past years, something that Napa and the SMC group try to change this year.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11