MANILA, Philippines -- CJ Cansino was removed from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) men's basketball team due to "defiance of authority."
Sources with knowledge of the situation informed ABS-CBN News that the swingman, who was named team captain of the Growling Tigers as a sophomore last season, spoke on behalf of the team and expressed their desire to go home.
This, as the Growling Tigers have been training in Sorsogon since June, according to the sources.
His statement was apparently not taken well by UST head coach Aldin Ayo, who initially removed Cansino as team captain before eventually kicking him off the team for good.
Ayo has yet to respond to a request for comment.
Cansino has made it clear via his own statement that he has no desire of leaving the Growling Tigers. He emerged as a star for the Tiger Cubs in high school, winning UAAP Juniors MVP honors, before moving up to their seniors program.
He averaged a double-double as a rookie and worked his way back from an ACL tear to make it back to the squad in his second year. But his production dipped, as the team focused instead on eventual MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy, and high-flying guard Rhenz Abando.
"UST is my dream school, kaya nalulungkot talaga ako sa nangyari," Cansino said in his statement. "Kung mabibigyan lang ako ng isang rason kahit sobrang daming rason kung bakit aalis ako, mag-stay ako eh. Kasi gusto ko pa rin maglaro sa UST."
"Kaya lang, tinanggal ako eh. Hindi mo naman pwede ipagpilitan 'yung sarili mo. May pangarap rin naman ako para sa sarili ko," he also said. "Kay sobrang lungkot lang na kailangan kong umalis sa UST kahit hindi ko gusto."
Sources informed ABS-CBN News that at least four UAAP schools -- De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, and Adamson University -- as well as reigning NCAA champions Colegio de San Juan de Letran, have been contacting Cansino.
However, the player has yet to make a decision as his departure from UST is still weighing heavily on him.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).