MANILA – After missing the first two finals games this week, it appeared that transferee CJ Cansino was the missing piece in the UP Fighting Maroons conquest for the UAAP title.
On Friday, Cansino returned to action for Game 3 of the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball finals and helped UP win its first title in 36 years.
According to the former UST standout, who scored 14 points and knocked down four 3-pointers, he made the ultimate sacrifice to suit up for the Fighting Maroons despite nursing a right knee injury.
“S’yempre masarap sa pakiramdam na alam mo ’yun nakatulong ako sa team dahil grabe ’yung sinacrifice nila,” he said after historic 72-69 overtime victory over the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Cansino said he was aware he was risking his health after seeing his team lose a close Game 2.
“’Yung gabi na natalo kami, inisip ko lang, ano ba isa-sacrifice ko? ’Yung sarili ko or ’yung team? Wala na, hindi na ko nagdalawang-isip. Kung anuman mangyari sa career ko, anuman mangyari sa injury ko, di ko na papabayaan teammates ko,” he said.
“Di ko papabayaan ang UP community, ang coaches kasi grabe sila magtrabaho e.”
Head coach Goldwin Monteverde left the decision to him when he consulted about playing in the winner-take-all match.
“Nu’ng sinabi ni coach Gold na, ‘Kung kaya mo, ikaw mag-decide.’ ’Yung tiwala niya sa’kin, sabi ko ita-try ko. Sobrang saya ko, kasi ’yun nga, kahit injury ako nakatulong ako sa team,” Cansino said.
True enough, Cansino fought for his team as he drained the overtime-sending triple 3-pointer to make it 59-all, on top of a number of big shots.