University of Santo Tomas will have to go into its final UAAP Season 81 assignment against Ateneo on Wednesday without its prized star.
Regardless of whatever the MRI results will show, head coach Aldin Ayo said that the team will be shutting down super rookie CJ Cansino for good.
“During halftime [we were able to speak to each other]. 7:30pm mag-MRI iyon, so definitely kahit ano ang resulta ng MRI, hindi natin papalaruin ‘yung bata,” Ayo said.
Cansino was stretchered out of the court after a non-contact left knee injury sent him crashing to the floor with 5:57 left in the second period.
The former UAAP Juniors MVP was averaging 13.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists prior to the Tigers’ loss against UP.
Three days ago against Adamson, Cansino was also sent to the locker room to deal with a right foot injury he sustained late in the fourth period. He jumped back into action two minutes later.
“He had a good season. Hopefully madami siyang natutunan and we’ll make sure that he’ll be ready for next year,” Ayo said.
His absence seemed to deflate UST, who saw themselves suddenly trailing by 42-38 at the half after leading by 10, 36-26, just minutes earlier.
Other players tried to pick up the slack but to no avail as the Fighting Maroons ended the Tigers’ hopes of making it into the Final Four.
“Sinubukan ni Toby Agustin, sinubukan ni Josh Marcos mag-step up. They tried their best naman eh kaso iba eh. Sumubok din sila Renzo and Marvin. Kahit ito ‘yung resulta, I’m proud of them because still they fought hard,” Ayo lamented.
It’s still a pretty successful year for the overachieving Tigers as they smashed low expectations set for them in the offseason. The one-time UAAP champion coach hopes that this is just the start of good things as he looks forward to making progress heading into his second year with the program in 2019.
“Well it was a good season for a start. there were lots of setbacks at lumabas naman ‘yung mga prinepare namin eh,” Ayo said.
“I’m happy for the rookies and for the hold-overs. Actually for the entire team. Nag-prepare naman kami kaso late na kami nabuo pero wala. Talo talaga. No excuses talo and dapat may ma-gain kami dito with experience for the rookies and for the whole team.”
Meanwhile, UP head coach Bo Perasol extended his well-wishes and heaped praises on the young Tigers for showing a lot of grit and toughness in contending for a playoff spot.
“I hope that CJ is safe and nothing is serious. That team is just superb. I keep on telling them, ‘That team is not going to stop, no matter who’s going to play there.’ It’s just in their character, that’s why nobody expected them to be where they are right now. They are where they are right now because of that kind of persistence and their play,” he said.