CJ Cansino sent a statement to the UAAP that he’s back to cap the opening weekend of Season 86.
The 6-foot-2 slasher underwent surgery in July 2022 to repair his ACL and MCL in his right knee.
He suffered the injury during University of the Philippines’ Season 84 second-round clash against Ateneo de Manila University. The incident caused him to miss the rest of the round, the semifinals, and the first two games of the finals.
Cansino then made a surprise return in the winner-take-all Game Three, providing the spark with 14 points in just 11 minutes on the floor.
And his performance ultimately lifted the Fighting Maroons to their first UAAP championship in 36 years.
Playing for the first time in the UAAP after more than a year, Cansino erupted in UP’s 68-51 win against Adamson University on Sunday.
The University of Santo Tomas High School product exploded for 19 points, including five made three-pointers – three during the crucial third quarter where the Fighting Maroons pulled away.
He also made the final points in the game, a triple which he followed with a celebration facing the UP crowd in attendance at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“After game nga, medyo nahihiya ako eh, kasi alam ko sa sarili ko hindi ako ganon eh. Pero siguro part na rin yun na first game, sobrang saya ko na I can’t control my emotion. Para akong bata na pinalabas ng hapon at hindi pinatulog,” said Cansino.
“Yun yung feeling ko pero una sa lahat, nagsosorry ako sa mga fans, sa coaches sa naging asta ko kanina. Alam kong hindi ako ganon and hopefully I’ll be better next game,” continued the UP captain.
It was actually a quiet first half for Cansino – who only attempted two shots – making one while also missing both of his free throws.
But his UP teammates rallied behind his back, allowing him to take more shots and gain his confidence in the second half.
“I think siguro yung tiwala rin ng mga teammates ko kasi kapag tumitira ako kahit sablay, nandoon sila palagi na nagsasabing ‘tira lang, papasok din yan’,” shared Cansino.
”Siguro yun yung nagbigay sa akin ng confidence na kahit yung iba hindi pumapasok, gagawin ko pa rin yung role ko.”
But at the end of the day, regardless of the stats, Cansino hopes for just one thing: A healthy season.
“Sobrang saya and thank God na nakabalik ako sa paglalaro. Sobrang happy ko na sa pagbabalik ko nakatulong pa ako sa team. Isa lang panalangin ko, maging healthy ako buong season”