Mark Nonoy: Leaving UST hard but necessary decision

Mark Nonoy officially bid the UST Growling Tigers goodbye, saying it was not an easy decision to part ways with the team but a necessary move for the future of his basketball career.

Nonoy, the UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year, and Deo Cuajao became the sixth and seventh players to leave the Tigers' lair as they reportedly moved to the La Salle Green Archers.

"Napakabigat man para sa loob ko, kinakailangan ko ng katiyakan sa aking career para makapag-focus ulit sa basketball," Nonoy wrote on Instagram.

(Although it was hard on my part, I need an assurance for my career so I can focus again on basketball.)

"[I]lang weeks na akong binabagabag ng kung ano ang kahihinatnan ng ating team," he added. "Ano man [ang] natutunan ko sa UST, dadalhin ko 'yan habambuhay saan man ako mapunta."

(The fate of the team has been bothering me for weeks. But everything I learned from UST, I will bring those lessons wherever I will go.)

After a stellar rookie year that saw him help the Tigers reach the UAAP finals for the first time since 2015, Nonoy was touted to take his game to another level in the upcoming season.

But the Tigers' controversial training bubble in Sorsogon changed their future, with key players like CJ Cansino, Rhenz Abando, and Brent Paraiso transferring to other schools.

Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo, meanwhile, resigned from his post as the UAAP slapped him with an indefinite ban.

Nonoy thanked Ayo for guiding him on and off the court.

"Habambuhay ko tatanawin ang utang na loob ko po sa kanya kasi kung hindi dahil sa kanya, wala po ako sa kinatatayuan ko ngayon," Nonoy said.

(I will forever be grateful to him because if not for him, I wouldn't be where I am now.)

La Salle head coach Derrick Pumaren welcomed the acquisition of Nonoy, who will play in Season 84 after serving a one-year residency, just in time for the UAAP exit of star guard Aljun Melecio.

"He will be a big addition for the team and it is a preparation for the graduation of Aljun," Pumaren said in a text message. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.