MANILA, Philippines – It’s been a tough 3 years if you’re a fan of the UST Growling Tigers.
After the Kevin Ferrer-led Tigers bowed out in the UAAP Season 78 finals to the FEU Tamaraws, UST had rotted at the bottom of the standings in the last two seasons – compiling a measly 4-24 record.
But now in Season 80, the Tigers have eclipsed their two-year win total with a 5-5 record, largely due to the impressive play of super rookie CJ Cansino.
Cansino, who just turned 19 on Saturday, October 27, decided to celebrate by dropping a 20-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in their 79-68 win against the UE Red Warriors.
The 6-foot-2 prospect recorded the first triple-double made by a rookie ever since official statkeeping started in 2003.
The ever-humble swingman admitted he was inspired during the game, but not just because he turned a year older.
“Oo, inspired [ako] di lang dahil birthday ko. Dahil [din] sa mga tao na grabe yung mga sinasakripisyo sa team, lalo na yung mga coaching staff,” he said after the game. “Yung last game namin, ang pangit, so para sa kanila talaga to, to the community and the coaches na sobra magsakripisyo sa team.”
(Yeah, I’m inspired not just because it’s my birthday, but also because of the people who have made great sacrifices for the team, especially the coaching staff. Our last game against NU was ugly, so this is for them, for the community and the coaches who sacrifice so much for the team.)
Cansino completed his triple-double with his 10th assist off a dump pass to a wide-open Zach Huang with just 51 seconds left in the game. He didn’t even know that he was anywhere close to the achievement until one of the assistant coaches told him so.
“Sabi kasi ni coach one assist na lang, so dun ko na nalaman na one assist na lang,” he said. “Kaya tinuro ko si coach [nung nakuha ko.]“
(Coach told me that I was one assist shy, so that’s when I knew. That’s why I pointed to him when I got it.)
Ayo gave his due props as well for his most prized ward.
“CJ is full of potential and we just want that to materialize. I hope he doesn’t get contented and continues improving,” said Ayo.
“The good thing about CJ is that he always responds whenever we tell him to change something like all his lapses in the NU game. CJ doesn’t run out of confidence. He always responds.”
In just 10 games into his rookie season, last season’s UAAP juniors MVP is posting team-high averages of 11 rebounds and 3.8 assists on top of 13.3 points.
Final Four or not, it seems that UST’s dark days are all but over. – Rappler.com