MANILA, Philippines – The UST Growling Tigers face a very tough schedule ahead as UAAP Season 81 nears the home stretch.
The Tigers, running 6th with a 5-7 record, arguably have the most difficult schedule to end the elimination round as they have to face fellow Final Four hopeful UP and defending champion Ateneo.
To top it all off, star rookie CJ Cansino suffered an apparent injury to his left Achilles during UST’s 83-96 loss to the Adamson Soaring Falcons, who qualified for the Final Four at their expense.
Knowing how crucial these last two games are, the 19-year-old stud decided to put his injury concerns in the rearview mirror.
In fact, he only spent two minutes in the locker room and finished the Adamson game with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“Medyo masakit pero di ko na ininda,” he said. “May pinainom lang sa akin. Noong una sobrang sakit pero bumaba naman tapos kinaya ko na.”
(It’s a bit painful but I didn’t mind it anymore. They just made me drink something. At first, it was really painful but it subsided and I just played through.)
“Kasi kailangan talaga ipanalo eh so di ko na iniisip yung mangyayari basta gusto ko lang manalo,” he continued. “Medyo sumasakit yung Achilles. Siguro pagkabagsak nung paa ko, nasaktan siya.”
(We really need to win so I didn’t think of the consequences anymore. I just wanted to win. My Achilles is hurting a bit. Maybe when my foot fell, I hurt it.)
Already being the team’s top rebounder and one of the top scorers in his first season, Cansino knows how difficult it would be for his team if he sat games out. For him, it’s all about hoping for the best.
“At least may pag-asa. May pag-asa pa rin, so di kami susuko,” he said. “Gagawin namin lahat, one game at a time pa rin. Magko-compete kami hanggang sa umabot kami sa Final Four.”
(At least we still have a chance, so we won’t quit. We will do everything, one game at a time. We will compete until we reach the Final Four.)
Multi-titled coach Aldin Ayo gave due praise for his young ward’s spirit, even after a crucial loss.
“Di naman matatawaran yung fighting spirit nung batang yun. Hangga’t kaya nun, maglalaro yun,” he said. “Sabi ko sakit lang yan eh. Di naman delikado, di naman career-threatening, so sabi ko just overcome it. Kailangan nating maglaro.”
(You cannot discount the fighting spirit of that kid. As long as he can, he will play. I told him it’s just pain. It’s not dangerous nor career-threatening, so I said just overcome it. We need to play.)
Final Four or not, UST can rest easy knowing Cansino’s heart is in the right place. – Rappler.com