MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas (UST) rising star CJ Cansino will undergo surgery on Monday after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, but intends to be back in time for UAAP Season 82.
The swingman suffered the injury early in their game against University of the Philippines last week, prematurely ending what had been a superb freshman campaign.
Before tearing his ACL, Cansino had averaged 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game for the Growling Tigers.
That included a triple-double performance against University of the East, the highlight of his rookie year. It's safe to say that Cansino – who was the Juniors MVP in Season 80 when he was with the UST Tiger Cubs – more than lived up to the hype.
"Siguro kung out of 10, 10 talaga," Cansino beamed when asked to rate his freshman year in the UAAP seniors division.
"Kasi as a rookie, hindi ko rin expected na ganito ako makakalaro. Siguro thankful na lang ako kay God and kila coach na binigyan ako ng chance," he added.
Cansino had his left knee tightly wrapped in an immobilizer, and was using crutches to walk around the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday afternoon. He watched as his teammates were crushed, 102-62, by defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in their final game of the season.
Yet he remains in high spirits, as Cansino is already looking forward to next year.
"Kasama ito sa basketball," he said of the injury. "Nagiging positive lang ako, kasi mahal ko talaga ang basketball eh."
"May tiwala talaga ako kay God na lahat may purpose," he also said. "Okay lang, laro lang ang basketball, and bahala na si God kung ano mangyari sa akin."
Cansino is expected to be out for at least six months, which will give him enough time to prepare for next year's UAAP campaign.
"Tinitingnan ko rin 'yung timeline kung hanggang saan ako makakabalik, so parang may mga two months pa ako," he said. "Alam ko namang tutulungan ako nila coach pagbalik ko. Hindi naman ako nape-pressure."
As early as now, he already knows what he wants to work on to make his sophomore year in the UAAP even better than his first one.
"Defense talaga and siguro papalaki ako ng katawan para 'pag sa banggaan talaga 'pag defense, di ba? 'Yun nga, kailangan talaga ng defense," he said.
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