It wasn’t apparent to everyone, but UST rookie CJ Cansino kinda did a Michael Jordan and played under the weather.
Last year’s Juniors MVP, who scored 18 points and hauled five rebounds in the Growling Tigers’ loss to Adamson on Saturday, revealed that he was already battling flu-like symptoms during the warmups.
“Nung pre-game pa lang, sobrang sakit ng ulo ko at nilalagnat ako. Medyo pipikit pikit ako kanina sa game kasi naduduling ako. Nahihirapan ako kanina kaya nagpapa-sub ako agad kay coach,” Cansino bared.
That didn’t stop him from spearheading UST’s attack, though, as he went toe-to-toe with the Soaring Falcons’ Jerrick Ahanmisi in the second half.
His notable play earned him praises from both head coach Aldin Ayo and opposing tactician Franz Pumaren, who both expected that kind of performance from the ‘super rookie’.
“I don’t think he became UAAP Juniors MVP for nothing. His upside is really there. With proper guidance, he’d be a better all-around player,” Pumaren told media after the game.
“I was expecting this. ‘Di ako nagugulat. May mga players diyan na ‘di pa lumalabas ‘yung laro. Sabi ko sa kanila kung gawin lang nila ‘yung ginagawa nila sa practice, we’ll be fine. It’s just a matter of playing their game,” said Ayo.
There’s no doubt that UST’s future lies with Cansino, and the fact that is not lost on him. He’d rather prefer winning that receive such affirmations, though.
“Mas masaya talaga kapag nananalo kasi ‘yung crowd and ‘yung community sobrang saya kapag nananalo,” he said.
But despite seeing his team slide to a 1-2 win-loss record, Cansino is still pretty optimistic about his continuous improvement and pointed out that Ayo himself was giving him the green light to do whatever he can on the floor.
“Sobrang saya ko kasi iba ‘yung kumpyansa na binibigay sa’kin ni coach Aldin. Rookie ako, pero sobrang dami ko natututunan every game. Marami pa kong kailangan i-improve talaga,” he said.
Cansino and the Tigers will next go up against Tab Baldwin and the Ateneo Blue Eagles on September 29.