MANILA, Philippines -- When CJ Cansino was informed that he was being kicked out of University of Santo Tomas (UST) men's basketball team, there was a part of him that wondered if it was the end of his basketball dream.
"The moment na sinabi sa akin na, 'CJ, you're off the team,' parang sabi ko, 'May kukuha pa kaya sa akin?'" Cansino recalled during an appearance on "Anong Tunay" over the weekend.
"Meron akong feeling na baka wala nang kumuha sa akin, baka wala nang tumanggap na school, so talagang 'yun 'yung naramdaman ko, sobrang heartbreak para sa akin," he added. "Hindi ko alam kung matutuloy na ba 'yung pangarap ko na maging basketball player, makapag-tapos."
Cansino's exit from UST came as a surprise. After all, he served as the team's captain in Season 82, despite being a sophomore. He played for the Tiger Cubs in high school, and by all accounts, he considered UST his home.
Once news broke that he was out of the team, however, his fellow basketball players were quick to act. Players from virtually every collegiate school made their pitch on social media, with each one trying to convince Cansino to come to their side.
University of the Philippines eventually won out. Cansino committed to play for the Fighting Maroons on Friday afternoon, not even 24 hours after it was revealed that he had left UST.
But he was very appreciative of the recruitment messages that he received from his peers, especially after experiencing a crisis of confidence upon his exit from UST.
"Sobrang natuwa ako kasi 'yun nga, sabi ko kanina noong tinanggal ako, nawala talaga 'yung confidence ko sa sarili ko na 'May kukuha kaya sa akin?' Ganoon ang mga tanong ko," said Cansino.
"Pero noong nakita ko 'yung mga kalaban ko, mga players ng ibang school, mga superstar pa, biglang bumalik 'yung kumpyansa ko na, 'Ay meron pala akong worth,'" he added. "May worth pa pala ako sa ibang school."
"So sabi ko, papasalamat ako sa kanila dahil kahit na nakakalaban nila ako, gusto pala nila ako maging kakampi."
He may have chosen UP, but Cansino was delighted at the tweets from De La Salle University's Aljun Melecio and Andrei Caracut, who took him on a "virtual tour" of their campus. National University captain Shaun Ildefonso told him that they "got it all for you," a reference to SM's famous tagline.
And Ateneo de Manila University's SJ Belangel invited him to play for the Blue Eagles, where he could reunite with his former Batang Gilas teammates.
"'Yun 'yung respect na na-earn ko sa kanila dahil nakakalaban ko sila sabay gusto pala nila akong maging kakampi. So, sobrang tuwang-tuwa ako. Sobrang thankful ako. Dahil doon, bumalik 'yung kumpyansa ko sa sarili ko," said Cansino.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).