CJ Cansino

Whichever Team Picks Him, CJ Cansino Will Be Ready To Go

The sharpshooting forward from UP and UST has already impressed at least one PBA team.

After a colorful career in the UAAP that saw him win a juniors MVP, debut as a promising rookie with the UST Growling Tigers, and eventually win a championship with the UP Fighting Maroons, CJ Cansino is now ready to make the big leap to the pros.

Cansino, who is currently lighting it up for the Iloilo United Royals in the MPBL, is one of 70 aspirants who have thrown their names into the PBA Season 49 Rookie Draft set for this Sunday. His name has popped up in several mock drafts, and while he has gone on record to say that it would be a dream for him to play for his favorite team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, he’ll be entering Sunday’s proceedings with no expectations on where he’ll land.

Wala pa naman, wala naman,” Cansino told The GAME during the first day of the Rookie Combine. “So hindi naman din kami kasi kami nag-e-expect. So kung sino mag-draft sa amin, kung ano yung ibigay na opportunity, yun na lang yung pagkatrabahuan namin.”

Cansino said that so far, he has worked out for the NLEX Road Warriors, who have the sixth pick. The experience was an eye-opener for him in terms of the PBA’s level.

Hindi ko rin ine-expect. Nakapag-workout na ako pero iba rin pala talaga sa PBA. Iba, yung culture nila, kung paano sila mag-workout, yung communication, at kung paano mag-isip yung players. Ibang-iba rin.

Na-amaze ako. First time kong mag-workout sa PBA team. Na-amaze ako kung paano sila mag-practice.”

While the team didn’t give him any specific feedback, a team source told The GAME that Cansino was impressive. “He’s a very good shooter, and he doesn’t wait for the ball to get to him,” the source said. “He finds a way to make the play.”

Cansino’s scoring prowess has always been his calling card, dating back to his final playing year in high school when he averaged 24.6 points per game for the UST Tiger Cubs en route to winning juniors MVP honors. Last season he led a stacked Fighting Maroons squad in scoring, averaging just under 13 points per game while shooting around 37% from beyond the arc.

If given a choice, though, Cansino said he’d probably be a good fit for either the Road Warriors or the Magnolia Hotshots.

“As of now siguro, nakikita ko yung mga rosters, siguro mas nakikita kong fit ako sa NLEX or Magnolia,” he explained. “Nakikita ko kasi parang kulang sila sa wing and kulang sila sa shooter. So tingin ko may capability ako na makakatulong sa team.”

Cansino says he’s only worked out privately so far for just the Road Warriors, but a good showing in the combine will likely lead to more invitations. He admits he likely needs to put on more weight, plus work more on his defense to better prepare himself for the pro level.

And although he’s had a history of serious knee injuries, CJ Cansino believes his ability to bounce back each time will serve him well.

Yung mga pinagdaanan ko, hindi rin biro, eh,” he told the assembled media after a scrimmage. “Lahat iyon binibigyan ako ng motivation.”

Banner Image courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau.

Kai Ballungay: Coming From ‘Winning Culture’ Is My Big Advantage

‘Nakakataba ng Puso’: Dave Ildefonso Goes Full Circle With PBA Draft Entry

Who Are the Players to Watch in the Season 49 PBA Draft?