MANILA, Philippines - Up until now, CJ Cansino remains uncertain as to the exact reason for his removal from the University of Santo Tomas men's basketball team.
He was told that he had committed "defiance of authority," but is unsure about what he did that led to that. The swiftness of the decision also gnaws at him, especially as he was not given a chance to redeem himself.
"Hanggang ngayon, hindi ko pa alam kung ano ba yung main reason kung bakit ako pinaalis," Cansino said Saturday, when he appeared on "The Chasedown."
"Hanggang ngayon, naghihintay din ako ng statement nila coach, ng UST, kung ano ba yung pinaka-main reason, kung ano ba yung pinaka-rason kung bakit ako ganoon kabilis tinanggal, kasi yun talaga yung pumapasok sa isip ko eh. Hindi ko talaga alam kung ano 'yung pinaka-rason," he said.
It was revealed that Cansino was leaving UST on Thursday evening. On Friday, he made it clear that he never wanted to leave España, the place where he became a star. But he was kicked off the Growling Tigers, despite having served as their team captain the previous season as a sophomore.
Cansino moved on quickly, committing to University of the Philippines on Friday afternoon. He will sit out the coming season to serve his residency, before becoming eligible to play for the Fighting Maroons in Season 84.
Even after he announced that he had found another home, his former team -- and head coach Aldin Ayo -- remained tight-lipped on why Cansino had to leave in the first place.
"Ang narinig ko lang, mismo kay Coach Aldin, defiance of authority," said Cansino. "Pero nasa isip ko pa din, hindi ko pa din alam kung ano ba yung nagawa ko. Tinatanong ko yung mga teammates ko kung meron akong nagawa."
Sources informed ABS-CBN News that Cansino, as the team captain, had spoken on behalf of the Growling Tigers. Since June, they have been training in Sorsogon, and they wanted to go home. The breakdown apparently began there, as Cansino was removed from the team afterward.
Cansino said that Ayo informed him directly that he was being taken off the Growling Tigers.
"Kinausap po ako ng harap-harapan. Sinabi niya po sa akin na, 'CJ you're off the team, you can find a school. Alam kong makakahanap ka, you're a good person, you're a good player, alam kong maraming kukuha sa'yo.' So harap-harapan niya po sinabi sa akin," he recalled.
Cansino, a former Juniors Most Valuable Player, says he has a good relationship with Ayo. He considers Ayo a father figure -- which is why he is stunned at the coach's swift decision.
"Para sa akin, parang mag-tatay na po talaga kami, kaya hindi ko lubos maisip na ganoon siya kabilis magde-decide para tanggalin ako sa team. Sobrang okay po talaga namin, sobra," he said.
The UST released a statement on Sunday morning to say that it was investigating allegations of the team's breach in quarantine protocols.
Cansino, for his part, has refused to confirm or deny the existence of the so-called "Bicol Bubble."
Before he left UST, he consulted his teammates. Cansino wanted to know if he had inadvertently disrespected their coaches, if he had said or done something, even unconsciously, that constituted "defiance of authority."
His teammates assured him that he had done nothing of the sort.
"Kasi nga, ang reason na sinabi talaga sa akin, defiance of authority. So tinanong ko rin sa kanila, meron ba, binastos ko ba si coach? May nagawa ba ako na nabastos sila? Sabi naman nila, wala talaga," said Cansino.
"Ewan ko, wala talaga eh. Sobrang linis ng konsensya ko po. Alam ko sa sarili ko na wala," he stressed.
When Cansino spoke with former UST volleyball star Carmela Tunay on "Anong Tunay," he wondered why he was not given an opportunity to make up for whatever mistake he committed.
"Hindi man lang nila ako binigyan ng second chance na makabawi man lang para hindi ako tuluyan makaalis," he lamented.
Cansino found that second chance not in España but in Diliman, where he will play the last two seasons of his UAAP career.
"Kailangan ko talaga umalis kasi siyempre, para sa career ko. Ano pong gagawin ko doon, 'di naman pwedeng mag-aral lang ako kasi gusto ko rin naman mag-basketball, gusto ko ituloy yung career ko, which is tinanggap ako ng UP," he said.
"Nagpapasalamat ako dahil binigyan ako ng second chance ng UP na ituloy sa kanila ang pangarap ko."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).