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CJ Cansino’s injury gamble rewarded with UP championship

/ 04:32 PM May 15, 2022
UP's CJ Cansino. UAAP PHOTO

UP’s CJ Cansino. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — CJ Cansino played through an injured right knee and delivered timely hits, including a clutch three-pointer that forced overtime to win his first UAAP championship with University of the Philippines.

After a collision with Ateneo’s Chris Koon in the last day of eliminations on May 1, the transferee from University of Santo Tomas missed UP’s pair of Final Four matches against La Salle and the first two games of the Season 84 Finals due to a bone bruise on his right knee.

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Although he is still recovering from his injury, Cansino decided to gamble his health and asked his coach Goldwin Monteverde on the eve of the winner-take-all Game 3 to allow him to help the Fighting Maroons’ last shot at glory.

“Kinagabihan inisip ko lang, ano ba ‘yung isa-sacrifice ko: ‘yung sarili ko, or ‘yung team? Wala na, hindi na ako nagdalawang isip. Sabi ko, kung ano man mangyari sa career ko, kung ano man mangyayari sa injury ko, hindi ko na papabayaan ‘yung teammates and ‘yung UP community,” Cansino shared after UP’s epic 72-69 victory over Ateneo to capture the Season 84 crown on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.

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“Kasi grabe sila mag-trabaho eh. Makikita mo na gustong-gusto din nila talaga.“

[Last night I asked myself what I should sacrifice, myself or my team? And then I realized, I should not let my teammates and the UP community down whatever happens to my injury. Because they worked so hard and they really wanted to win.]

Monteverde felt the determination of Cansino to help his team that’s why he trusted the 22-year-old guard even he’s not yet 100-percent healthy, fielding him in a game that went neck-and-neck in fighting for the championship.

“CJ approached me yesterday. And, he told me,  ‘Coach, I wanna play, I’m ready.’ I asked him twice, ‘Are you sure that you really wanna play tomorrow?’ He said, ‘For the team, coach, I really wanna help out.’ I asked him, ‘Are you 100% sure?’ He answered ‘Coach, whatever it takes, I’ll play,’” the UP coach shared. “When I put him in the game, I never had a second thought about it because the way his words really convinced me. I felt he’s really willing to give it his all for this game.”

True enough, it was a high risk, high reward move for Cansino as he delivered 14 points on 4-of-7 in 12 minutes of play.

And without him, JD Cagulangan’s championship-winning trey in overtime may not have happened as the 6-foot-2 guard delivered a clutch triple that tied the game 59-all with 47.5 seconds and led to extra regulation.

Cansino can now call himself as a UAAP champion after all this struggles from his ACL injury during his rookie season with UST last 2018 to losing to Ateneo in the Finals the year after and being part of the infamous Sorsogon bubble that led to his transfer to Diliman two years ago. 

“Siyempre masarap sa pakiramdam. Alam mo ‘yun, nakatulong ako sa team kahit may injury ako, dahil ‘yun nga, grabe kasi ‘yung sinacrifice nila eh,” he said. 
[It really feels good to help my team even I’m injured. They really sacrificed a lot to win this (championship).]

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TAGS: CJ Cansino, Coach Goldwin Monteverde, UAAP Men's basketball, UP Fighting Maroons
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