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    Hubert Cani confirms move to Ateneo, claims his family was assured of release by top NU officials

    Jun 12, 2014

    HUBERT Cani confirmed he has committed to play college ball at Ateneo and claimed he and his family were assured by National University officials of his release papers even before he decided to make the switch.

    Cani, the Finals MVP of the UAAP juniors division last season after he led the Bullpups to the title, said he picked Ateneo over La Salle and NU because of the opportunity to play alongside national youth teammates Arvin Tolentino and Thirdy Ravena at the Blue Eagles camp.

    The wily guard also said the Blue Eagles' style of play and the loaded backcourt rotation of the Bulldogs and the Green Archers also influenced his decision.

    “Nag-practice ako sa NU, La Salle, and Ateneo. Iba-iba po ang system nila and sa Ateneo, pasok po ako sa style of game nila,” said Cani in an online interview with Spin.ph.

    "Marami na pong guards sa NU, almost apat sa rotation. Sa La Salle po, tatlo. Sa Ateneo, dalawa lang po kami ni Jerie (Pingoy) at parang last year na po nung ibang guards.

    “Maganda sa National University and La Salle, but ‘yung bonding na nakuha ko, malaking bagay sa akin ‘yun at welcome ako sa coaching staff and teammates.

    “Sila Arvin and Thirdy, matagal ko na po silang kakampi, since under-13 RP team pa. Kaya masaya po at sa college, magkakasama kami sa team,” added Cani.

    Cani is covered by the league's two-year residency rule on high school graduates transferring to another UAAP for college. But he can immediately play for Ateneo if he gets a release from his former school.

    Continue reading below ↓

    However, a high-ranking NU official told Spin.ph on Wednesday that the school will not release Cani despite the plan of Ateneo athletic director Ricky Palou to talk them into granting the former Bullpups star his release.

    When pressed for comment about NU’s decision, Cani claimed his family had been assured by NU officials Nilo Ocampo and Junel Baculi even before he entered fourth year high school that he will get a release if he decides to move to a different university.

    Cani’s mother was a former employee of the NU athletics department.

    “’Yung napag-usapan nila ng Mommy ko together with Sir Junel Baculi and Sir Nilo Ocampo, incoming fourth year pa lang ako ay sinabi nila na walang magiging problema sa release papers. I’m sure may word of honor po sila dahil sila ang mga namumuno sa NU,” said Cani.

    “Nagsabi ang Mommy ko na gawan natin ng agreement in black and white pero sabi ni Sir Nilo, hindi na kailangan dahil wala namang magiging problema,” he added.

    Cani said they had also written NU chairman Hans Sy about his release last March, when he was still undecided on where to go in college. The full text of the letter of Cani’s mother to Sy, which was furnished to Spin.ph, also cited that NU had previously released Prince Rivero when he moved to La Salle Greenhills.

    Cani, however, said they weren’t sure whether his mother's letter reached the NU chairman.

    “Sana lang po nakarating ang sulat kay Sir Hans para malaman niya na pinahalagahan namin ang NU,” he added.

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    Ocampo and Baculi, NU's representative to the UAAP board, refused to speak at the moment about the matter. In a Spin.ph interview, another high-ranking NU official said sensitive issues like Cani’s release are the call of Sy, Ocampo and Baculi.

    Nevertheless, Cani said he remains grateful to NU for honing his basketball career.

    “Matagal na pinag-isipan ito at kami ay nagdasal na ito ang tamang desisyon. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa NU community, sa mga coaches, Sir Junel, Sir Nilo, Sir Hans, Sir Sergio,” Cani said.

    Cani said the two-year residency is a big blow to his basketball career as he hopes that Senator Pia Cayetano’s Student-Athletes Protection Act will be passed into law so he can start playing for the Blue Eagles immediately.

    “Malaking kawalan po kasi ang basketball po, dapat continous ang program. Maiiwanan kami ng mga kasabayan namin,” said Cani.

    Cayetano's bill, which has been passed on third and final reading in the Senate, emboldened him to go to the college of his choice, Cani said.

    “Kahit po paano, nabibigyan ako ng motivation na gawin ko lang kung saan ako masaya sa pipiliin kong school,” said Cani, referring to Cayetano’s bill. “High school po kami, tama po ‘yun na may karapatan kami na makapunta sa ibang school na alam namin na malaki ang maitutulong sa amin.”

    Here's the full text of the letter of Cani’s family to Sy below:

    Mr. Hans T. Sy

    Chairman National University

    Dear Sir:

    Isang napakalaking karangalan, oportunidad at pribelihiyo ang naitulong sa aking anak na si Hubert R. Cani bilang bahagi ng Institusyong National University. Sa pamumuno ni Sir Junel Baculi at kanyang mga kasama ay malaki ang nai-ambag upang ang aking anak ay madagdagan ang kaalaman sa Edukasyon, Basketball at pag-angat ng kanyang personalidad.

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    Taong 2010-2011 ng makapasok si Hubert sa N.U. sa tulong ni Coach Leo Pujante, na ang panahon na iyon si Hubert ay miyembro ng RP Youth Team at Student Athlete ng La Salle Greenhills. Marami ang nag invite sa kanya, gaya ng La Salle Zobel, Letran, Ust at San Beda, pero ng maipasyal si Hubert sa N.U. ay nagustuhan niya ang pag- salubong sa kanya ng mga player sa pangunguna ni Prince Rivero na noon ay kakampi niya sa RP Youth Team. Sinabi sa amin ni Coach Leo na walang magiging problema ang bata kahit siya ay mag-laro sa International Competition at yan naman ay kanilang tinupad.

    Sa pag-akyat ni Hubert ng 4th year, kami ay nag-isip sa nangyari kay Jerrie Pingoy, player ng FEU, na hindi binigyan ng release paper at na- hold ng two years sa hindi malamang dahilan, bago mag-4th year ang aking anak, kinausap ko si Sir Junel Baculi at Sir Nilo Ocampo upang si Hubert ay mabigyan ng advance release paper, ang sabi po nila ay hindi na kailangan dahil wala namang problema kung gugustuhin mang lumipat ng bata sa ibang school pag- dating ng College. Kaya ang ginawa namin ay pina- enroll na siya sa 4th year at nag focus ang bata sa pag-aaral at pag-lalaro. Isa na itong kasaysayan at nagawa nilang mag-kampeon na walang talo sa UAAP Season 76.

    May isang insidente na ang player na si Prince Rivero kasama ang dalawang kapatid ay nag-paalam sa N.U. sa hindi malamang kadahilanan upang lumipat sa ibang paaralan, at sa aming pag-kakaalam ay pinayagan ito ng inyong opisina.

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    Sa loob po ng tatlong taong nag-trabaho ako ay wala kaming nagawang mali o naging issue bagkos ay ang aming pakikisama sa lahat ng mga tao sa komunidad ng N.U. ang aming pinaiiral.

    Pag-katapos mag-champion ng Bullpups, Noong Nov. 4, 2013 si Sir Sergio Yu, ay nag invite sa amin ng dinner at kami ay pumunta at nag-kausap tungkol sa pananatili ni Hubert sa National University, nag-sabi po ang aking asawa na bigyan ng dalawang araw bago mag- desisyon,at sa miting ng aming pamilya ay hindi basta makadesisyon at binigyan namin ng pag-kakataon na si Hubert mismo ang makaramdam ng kanyang pakikipag-laro sa Senior. Si Hubert po ay lumahok sa praktis ni Coach Eric Altamirano, at ganoon din ang kanyang ginawa sa school ng La Salle at Ateneo, siya ay lumalahok ng praktis dito at hanggang sa ngayon ay wala pa siyang confirmation sa mga school na ito. Kami ay dumudulog po sa inyo na ang desisyon ni Hubert ay nakasalalay sa kanyang nararamdaman kung siya ba ay lubos na pinapahalagahan ng kanyang school na pinupuntahan upang mag-try out sa kanilang Team. Umaasa po kami na inyong mapag-bibigyan na si Hubert ay may laya na makapunta sa gusto niyang school at maka-kuha ng release paper galing sa inyong opisina. Alam naman po ninyo ang aking kalagayan at sa mga panahong ito hangarin ng isang ina na katulad ko na makita ang kanilang anak na magawa niya na sa alam niya ay magiging masaya siya.

    Muli po kami ay nag-papasalamat sa oras at panahon ni binigay ninyo sa amin at sa suporta sa aming anak upang siya ay maging ganap na STUDENT ATHLETE.

    Continue reading below ↓

    PAG-PALAIN KAYO NG PANGINOON.

    Salamat po!

    Gumagalang,

    MARY GRACE R. CANI

    Mother

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