CJ Cansino joins UP Maroons after shock UST exit

CJ Cansino is bound for the University of the Philippines after his controversial departure from the University of Santo Tomas.

UP officially announced the transfer on the men’s basketball team’s Facebook page with head coach Bo Perasol noting that he would “personally help” Cansino with the transition.

Noong natanggap ko na, na hindi na ako pwede sa UST, marami po akong kinausap and kinonsulta,” said Cansino. “Ang naging pakiramdam ko po ay mas bagay talaga ako sa UP, mas comfortable ako sa UP.”

(When I finally accepted that I could no longer return to UST, I talked and consulted a lot of people. I felt that I’m more fit with UP, I’m more comfortable with UP.)

“CJ will be a great addition to ensuring the sustainability of the program, especially with possibly just one player left from last season playing for Season 84,” said Perasol

“I will personally help him make the transition to being a Fighting Maroon. CJ will definitely enjoy his stay in UP.” 

Team manager Atty. Agaton Uvero said the Maroons are happy to have Cansino on board. 

“We wanted him to play for UP when he graduated from UST high school two years ago, but his heart has always been with UST,” Uvero said. "We are happy and lucky that he chose to be part of the Fighting Maroons this time."

A source initially confirmed the development to Rappler on Friday, August 21, that Cansino will serve a one-year residency and suit up for the Fighting Maroons starting UAAP Season 84.

The source also told Rappler that UP was Cansino’s first choice, noting that he was excited at the prospect of playing in Diliman.

The 6-foot-2 Cansino is the latest addition to UP’s deep collection of blue-chip recruits and transfers.

More details are also emerging about the separation of Cansino from the UST Growling Tigers. 

Cansino released a statement on Friday, August 21, that he was “kicked off” the team coached by Aldin Ayo, and will now look for a new home. (READ: Cansino breaks silence on UST departure, says he got ‘kicked off’)

Sources close to the situation also said that players of UST’s senior varsity team have been in Sorsogon – Ayo’s hometown – since June, with videos allegedly showing the Tigers training at a local court now surfacing on social media. 

According to sources, the players on the team grew physically tired and “mentally drained” as of late, prompting them to request the coaches if they could return to their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Whole team kumausap, as a team,” a source said.

Cansino, UST’s former team captain, was plain-spoken about the topic, although a source said it was the entire team who approached their coaches about being allowed to leave what’s now being referred to as UST’s own “bubble.”

A number of Cansino’s teammates also privately thanked him for voicing his opinion.

Eventually 3 players were allowed to leave for “valid reasons” – Cansino, veteran Brent Paraiso, and youngster Bismarck Lina. 

Lina and Paraiso are still with the Growling Tigers, according to sources, and the latter confirmed this on Twitter:

Cansino, however, is not. Sources also told Rappler that Cansino, who used to play for UST’s high school team, only found out he was kicked off the team after leaving Sorsogon.

Nung pag-alis [niya], doon na siya tinanggal,” a source said. 

(When he left, that’s when he was kicked out of the team.)

It is possible there are more reasons behind Cansino’s departure from the Growling Tigers.

There are now also questions, both on social media and UAAP circles, if Ayo and the Tigers made a mistake having the team train in Sorsogon as virus cases in the Philippines continue to rise and whether they broke government regulations. 

As of posting time, Ayo has not responded for comment on the situation.

Cansino had calls with suitors on Friday morning, and sources say his priority was on which team could maximize his talent and development.

Players of other schools – like Juan Gomez de Liaño, Ricci Rivero, Dave Ildefonso, Aljun Melecio, and others – reached out to Cansino on social media as a way to recruit him to their respective universities, but he ultimately decided on UP. – Rappler.com