By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FOUND himself sans a team to play for in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) after he was “dropped” from the roster by his previous team, CJ Cansino did not waste time finding a new home, hooking up with the University of the Philippines (UP).
It was a decision that former University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers captain Cansino said he was comfortable to make, feeling a connection with the Fighting Maroons and what they want to accomplish in the UAAP.
Cansino, 20, hogged the headlines late last week after it was reported that he and UST decided to part ways after three years.
The do-it-all guard said that he was cut from the team for “defiance of authority” by UST coach Aldin Ayo but was not given the full reason for such.
He went on to say that the move caught him by surprise since he described his relationship with Mr. Ayo as “okay” and considers the UST coach “like a father.”
Cansino also said that he loves playing for the Tigers and that UST was his “dream school.”
The news came out amid reports as well of a “bubble” done by the Tigers in Sorsogon, hometown of Mr. Ayo, which is now the subject of an investigation by government agencies and the UAAP for possibly violating health and safety protocols during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
Out of the UST team, Cansino immediately got the interest of other UAAP teams and some from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Among those which reached out to him were Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Adamson University, Far Eastern University (FEU) and Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
He said he heard out all the teams that expressed interest in getting him but in the end had more connection with UP, and, thus, decided to be a Maroon.
“Different teams reached out to me and I heard them out but I decided to go to UP and commit to their program. Thanks to UP for giving me a second chance to continue my basketball dreams,” said Cansino during his guesting on The Chasedown show on Saturday.
“When I was trying to decide which team I would join, the first I considered was academics. Second was the sports program. Third was player development. Fourth was how my game suits the program, if my skills set would fit the team. I saw those in the other teams like Ateneo, La Salle, FEU and Adamson, which I felt can help me grow. But after giving it some thought, I just followed my heart and what I felt was the best move for me. And I felt a connection with UP when I talked to them,” he added.
Cansino went on to say that the transfer to UP had to be done quickly to meet the enrollment cut-off since the academic year has already started.
Had he waited too long, he would have to sit out for two years for residency. But since he is already enrolled, he only needs to redshirt for one year.
Now with the Maroons, Casino said he is very excited but also understands there are challenges he has to deal with.
“I just want to start moving on. Have a fresh start. The UP community has welcomed me like what UST did during my stay there. It’s going to be a challenge of course but I will do everything they ask me to. Whatever role they give I will do my best,” Cansino said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), UAAP, Department of Health and the Games and Amusements Board met on Saturday to tackle the reported bubble mounted by the UST basketball team in violation of health and safety protocols during the community quarantine.
In a statement, the PSC said it “recognizes the UAAP as the mother organization of the concerned team and trusts that proper actions shall be done on this matter.”
The sports body also reiterated that government regulations on the conduct of sports during the time of the pandemic must strictly be followed.
Under government guidelines, mass gatherings relative to sports are not allowed or need prior approval from authorities.
UST was invited to the meeting but respectfully declined as it said it was still conducting an internal investigation on the matter, saying “the University does not tolerate any form of violation of government regulation,” and that it will respond to the matter accordingly.