CJ CANSINO said he remains focus on the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs’ semifinal bid in the UAAP juniors basketball despite the distraction of college recruitment.
The leading MVP contender after the first round of eliminations said even individual awards are far from his mind, insisting that any decisions on his college plan will be made after the season.
“Magde-decide ako after the season,” said the 6-2 Cansino. “Sabi ko kila coach (Chris Cantonjos), maraming kumakausap pero isa lang ang assurance ko, magtutulungan tayo para mapasok natin sa Final Four ang UST.”
Cansino admitted UST coach Aldin Ayo has spoken to him about staying in the Dominican school and playing for the Growling Tigers. The 18-year-old Cansino said Far Eastern University has also approached him.
Through seven games of the first round, Cansino is averaging 27.6 points and 14.6 rebounds for the Tiger Cubs. He posted season-highs in points (35) and rebounds (25) in two separate games.
“Hindi ko inaasam (MVP) kasi parang bonus na lang ‘yun. Ang pinaka-goal ko talaga, makapasok sa Final Four ang UST kasi matagal ng hindi nakakapasok,” said Cansino.
But the Tiger Cubs have been struggling lately, losing three straight games that put the team in a tie for third place with Far Eastern University and Adamson.
“May plan sila coach na mabigay para mawala ‘yung struggles ng team. Mas paghahandaan namin mga next game,” said Cansino.
“Masaya ako kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan ko, lumabas nung first round. Siyempre, grateful ako na maganda rin standing ng team,” said Cansino.
Cansino said he is a late-bloomer, having learned the game at 11 in Valenzuela City after transferring to a home where a basketball court was accessible.
He picked up the game quickly and made it to the De La Salle Araneta varsity team as well as the Batang Gilas pool.
Cansino credits former coach MC Abolucion for his development.
“Siya naging mentor ko,” said Cansino of Abolucion, who is now an assistant coach at Alab Pilipinas. “Hanggang ngayon, tinatanong ko pa rin siya. Siya nagbigay ng kumpiyansa para mas gumaling ako.”
“Masaya at thankful ako kay God kasi hindi lahat nabibigyan ng ganito. Pagtatrabahuan ko talaga ‘yung talent na binigay ni God,” he said.