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After long wait, Cani ready to star in the grandest stage of them all

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The inexplicable feeling of being free after being ‘in chains’ for so long hit Hubert Cani the day it was announced he was eligible for UAAP Season 78 basketball.

He knows exactly how it feels to be ‘trapped’ and finally breaking away from the Proverbial chains at long last is something that gives him a fresh new start.

“Hindi na ako nabo-bother na may residency-residency na iniisip,” Cani said on how his mood has changed days after getting the greenlight and days before UAAP Season 78 action kicks off. “Parang ngayon mas kalmado ako.”

It’s not like Cani hasn’t been playing with the Ateneo Blue Eagles during his residency, but he describes the UAAP as the grandest stage of college basketball — a collegiate equivalent of the PBA.

“Sa college, parang yan na yung PBA. UAAP, NCAA, yan na yung mga big league. Kapag diyan kayo naglaro, masarap magcompete at magpagalingan with the other teams,” Cani shared.

Ever since transferring from National University to Ateneo de Manila University, Cani has been welcomed by the Blue Eagle side with high spirits.

Every day for over a year, Cani, the former UAAP Juniors Season MVP, trained with his new squad carrying along the same passion and same mindset.

Being in the presence of veterans also eased the transition for Cani.

“Nakakasama rin naman naming mga rookies ang mga veterans. Lahat sila madaling pakisamahan and sila pa rin ang nag-ga-guide sa amin,” he said.

Cani admits it is also difficult to be practicing while minding the uncertainty, although he did his best to keep his mind on the basketball court instead of other distractions.

“Lagi naman ako sinasabihan na magfocus lang, isipin lang ang future ko, and magstick lang sa game,” he shared.

And when news finally broke out about his clearance, the aura only got even better.

“Sobrang saya ka nung nabalitaan ko na pwede na ako maglaro after ng isang taon. Ang dami ring problema bago naging okay and thankful ako sa lahat ng sumusuporta,” Cani said.

On that note, Cani wishes to bring the game he is known for in the Juniors level the Seniors team.

Looking at the stint long-term, Cani also wants to win a championship with the Loyola side, and the road begins now for the young point guard.

“Ako basta every game I will do my part and give my best. Bahala na rin ang coaches sa amin. Kami, gusto rin naman mag-champion syempre.”

The stage is set, the runway is clear. Cani is ready to take flight and showcase his wares in front of the grandest stage of them all.

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