UAAP Basketball

UP ‘very optimistic’ with Cansino return for Final Four do-or-die vs La Salle

JR Isaga
UP ‘very optimistic’ with Cansino return for Final Four do-or-die vs La Salle

FIGHTING PAIN. CJ Cansino attempts to return from injury for UP as La Salle goes for a finals berth at the Maroons' expense.

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

UP sixth man CJ Cansino inches closer to a return as the Maroons again find themselves on the brink of blowing a second straight twice-to-beat Final Four bonus

MANILA, Philippines – Help is likely on the way back for the UP Fighting Maroons as top bench guard CJ Cansino is eyeing a return on Friday, May 6, after a scary right leg injury in their historic win against Ateneo.

UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde shared the positive development after the Maroons’ failed comeback against the in-form De La Salle Green Archers, who took advantage of Cansino’s absence, and peaked with a 22-point lead in the rubber match-forcing game.

“CJ for now, we’re taking it day-to-day. We’re still waiting for the final results of his injury, but we’re very optimistic he can return. We’ll let you know the final result,” he said in Filipino after the 83-80 loss.

In his first season with UP, Cansino has emerged as the clear-cut sixth man, and posted averages of 9.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in a little over 18 minutes a game.

That hole in the bench was exposed in a pivotal game against La Salle, which utilized their own sixth man Kurt Lojera to full effect as he finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

But now with Cansino probably back in the mix come Friday, Monteverde will likely not dig through his bench deeper than usual, as he had to lean on a rotation of Gerry Abadiano, Noah Webb, and Brix Ramos to climb out of the double-digit second-half hole.

Still, the multi-titled juniors coach gave his bench mob their due credit, as the final score wouldn’t have been as close as it was had he not utilized his young guns near the end.

“That’s how a team is supposed to be right? If your teammates are a bit off, you’re there, you’ve got their backs once you play, and you do your part,” Monteverde continued.

“They never gave up during the game, and having your teammates’ backs is a really good thing for a team.” –