CJ Cansino breaks silence on sudden departure from UST Growling Tigers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 21) — A day after his name made the headlines, CJ Cansino broke his silence on his playing status with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.

Multiple media outlets reported on Thursday that Cansino and the Growling Tigers have parted ways.

The 20-year-old cager revealed in a statement released Friday that he was dropped from the team for reasons beyond his control.

Bigyan lang ako ng isang rason para hindi lumipat, maglalaro pa rin ako sa UST. Kaya lang, tinanggal ako eh. Hindi mo naman pwede ipagpilitan yung sarili mo. May pangarap rin naman ako para sa sarili ko. Kaya sobrang lungkot lang na kailangan kong umalis sa UST kahit hindi ko gusto,” he said.

(Translation: Just give me one reason to not leave, and I’d still play for UST. But I was kicked off the team. You can’t really force yourself to stay. And I still have a dream for myself, which is why it saddens me that I have to leave even though I don’t want to.)

Cansino expressed his gratitude to the school he called home since his high school days, when he was named the UAAP juniors Most Valuable Player in Season 80.

"Unang-una sa lahat, UST is my dream school kaya nalulungkot talaga ako sa nangyari. Wala akong masabi kundi salamat sa suporta ng community, fans at admin," he said. "Ibang-iba ang mga Tomasino pagdating sa suporta. Sobrang tumaba yung puso ko nung nakita ko yung suporta nila kahit na nalaman nilang lilipat ako," he said.

(Translation: UST is my dream school which is why I’m really sad with what happened. I can’t say anything else but thank you to the community, fans and admin. Thomasians are really different when it comes to support. It really warmed my heart to see their support despite knowing that I’m leaving.)

The 6-foot-2 swingman made an immediate impact in his first year with the Growling Tigers — he finished runner-up in the Rookie of the Year race behind Ateneo's Ange Kouame. But an ACL or anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained in his last rookie game sidelined him the rest of the season. He returned in Season 82 and helped UST reach the men's basketball finals for the first time since 2015.

Cansino vowed to give it all to the school he will choose, the same way he showed his passion for UST. He still has two playing years in the UAAP.

Sa lilipatan ko, pinapangako ko na kung paano ko binigay ang buong puso at pagkatao ko sa UST, ganun din ang makukuha niyo sa akin. Kung ano yung natutunan ko, hindi ko iiwan at dadalhin ko,” he said.

(Translation: To the place I’m transferring to, I promise to give you the same heart and personality that I gave UST. I will not forget what I learned and I will bring those lessons with me.)

Now one of the most sought-after players in the collegiate ranks, current UAAP and NCAA players have sent their pitches to Cansino through social media.