MANILA, Philippines – It may seem like University of Santo Tomas’ CJ Cansino ended his Rookie of the Year campaign in one of the worst scenarios possible.
As one of the stellar young standouts this UAAP season, Cansino highlighted his run with a 20-point, 14-rebound and 10-assist triple-double, making him the first rookie to pull off the feat since official stats were kept in 2003.
But all high hopes came crashing when Cansino crumpled in a heap during their crucial game against UP last week. He would not return to play and could only watch as the Maroons tore his team’s Final Four dreams to shreds.
As it turned out, the 19-year-old suffered the much-feared ACL injury in his left knee.
Still, Cansino – crutches and all – remained in high spirits.
“Tanggap ko naman na na-injure talaga ako eh kasi kasama sa basketball,” said the former UAAP juniors MVP. “Magiging positive lang ako kasi mahal ko talaga ang basketball eh.”
(I’ve come to terms with my injury already since it’s really part of basketball. I’ll just be positive because I really love the game.)
Cansino is scheduled for surgery on Monday, November 19, and will be out for at least 8 months, which means that he’ll also miss the team’s PBA D-League stint at the start of 2019.
Still, there’s no denying Cansino’s incredible season as the 6-foot-1 swingman ended up with a double-double average of 12.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, with his rebounding norm above established giants like La Salle’s Justine Baltazar (9.6) and FEU’s Prince Orizu (9.3).
The budding King Tiger, who proudly gave himself a grade, also felt surprised how his debut season turned out.
“Grabe. Kung out of 10, 10 talaga,” he said. “As a rookie, ‘di ko rin expected na ganito ako makakalaro. Siguro thankful ako kina God and kina coach na binigyan ako ng chance.”
(If it’s out of 10, it’s a 10. As a rookie, I didn’t expect that I could play like this. I’m just thankful to God and my coaches that they gave me this chance.)
Although the recovery period may seem like a very long time for a player of his caliber, Cansino says he’s taking everything in stride.
“Walang [regrets] kasi may tiwala talaga ako kay God na lahat may purpose,” he said. “Okay lang. Laro ng basketball.”
(I don’t have regrets because I trust in God that everything has a purpose. It’s okay. It’s the game of basketball.) – Rappler.com