MANILA, Philippines – CJ Cansino is determined to keep getting better after capping his UAAP high school career by winning the top individual award in the Season 80 juniors basketball tournament.
The standout from University of Santo Tomas (UST) was the runaway winner of the UAAP juniors Most Valuable Player crown, tallying 88.43 statistical points thanks to averages of 24.1 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.
He won the award over more high-profile players, including the Ateneo de Manila High School pair of Kai Sotto and SJ Belangel. Cansino formally received his trophy on Tuesday, ahead of Game 2 of the juniors finals between the Blue Eaglets and the National University (NU) Bullpups.
For the 18-year-old, the award was unexpected.
"Hindi ko talaga ine-expect na kaya ko pala makakuha ng MVP, kasi dati simula lang din ako sa pinakababa hanggang sa napunta ako dito," said Cansino.
"Ang saya-saya ko lang kasi lahat ng paghihirap ko, 'yung pain, 'yung sakripisyo ko, para lang dito sa pagba-basketball is nag-bunga lahat," he added.
Cansino said the award will serve as his motivation as he takes the next step in his young basketball career.
"Siguro nabigyan ako nito ng kumpyansa para mag-work hard pa lalo, para abutin ko talaga 'yung pangarap ko sa pagdating ng college and sa professional," he said.
"Siguro gagamitin ko ito as inspiration para mas magtrabaho pa at mag-work para mas gumaling pa," added the youngster.
While he has yet to make a formal commitment, Cansino admits he has already been practicing with UST, and the Growling Tigers remain his top choice.
"Wala na akong ibang plan na lumipat," said Cansino.
Cansino led the Tiger Cubs to a third-place finish in the Season 80 tournament. They dethroned defending champion Far Eastern University-Diliman in the step-ladder playoffs before bowing to the Bullpups.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.