Finishing with double-double numbers has been a regular occurrence for UST's rookie sensation CJ Cansino in his young collegiate career. On Sunday, he further elevated his game by notching a rare triple-double, which no rookie in the UAAP has achieved before in at least 15 years.
"I'm happy because I got the triple-double. I just followed the system of sharing the ball and it worked," he said after tallying 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists in the Growling Tigers' 79-68 victory over the UE Red Warriors.
Prior to this, Cansino was averaging a double-double of 12.6 points and 10.7 rebounds, to go with 3.1 assists. Achieving a triple-double, for a change, was his way of adjusting to what the opposing defenses are throwing at him.
"The coaches told me after the first round, 'CJ, you need to have an extra pass because you have been scouted. You already get the points, you just need to add to your assists because everybody will sag on you,'" he shared.
Cansino heeded his coaches' call and worked hard to improve on his playmaking and passing skills. Moving forward, he's hoping that he can facilitate better for his teammates on top of doing his usual job of scoring and rebounding.
"Russell Westbrook is my idol so a triple-double is an achievement for me," he said. "But I told myself that I still need to work so I can achieve it again next game."
How Cansino responded to the coaches' advice did not get lost on head coach Aldin Ayo, who admitted that the blue-chip recruit has exceeded his expectations. Ayo has been heaping praises on Cansino ever since the latter committed to playing for the Tigers. Now he's happy to witness the young player's continuous growth.
"The good thing about CJ is that he always responds every time we talk to him," said Ayo. "I'm not expecting that much but I know that ever since I got CJ, my goal is to help him realize his potential. CJ is full of potential, we just want that to materialize. I hope he doesn't get contented and he continues improving."
Cansino, who turned 19 a day before the triple-double feat, said he won't be celebrating this historic milestone. He's just focused on correcting his mistakes and helping UST secure more wins.
"I was inspired not only because it was my birthday but because of the people who sacrifice a lot for our team. This is for the community and the coaches," he said. "I won't celebrate this, just on to the next one. I also have lapses earlier, I'll review that and then no celebration. I'll just move on to the next."