Negrense basketeer Mark Nonoy and teammate Deo Cuajao were the latest Growling Tigers who decided to depart from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), days after Coach Aldin Ayo submitted his resignation from the team.
This developed as former Alaska import Sean Chambers and former Blackwater interim coach Aries Dimaunahan confirmed their application for the job vacated Aldin Ayo.
Meanwhile, in separate statements yesterday, Nonoy and Caujao said that while it burdens them to leave the team, they need to focus on their future.
“”Napakabigat man para sa loob ko, kinakailangan kong katiyakan sa aking career para makapag focus ulit sa basketball (Although it breaks my heart, I need assurance in my career so that I can focus again in basketball),” Nonoy, who hailed from La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, said.
For his part, Cuajao said “[Sa career] ko binubuo ang pangarap ko para sa pamilya ko (It is in my career where I am building my hope for my family).”
The two players then thanked former UST coach Ayo, who according to Cuajao became his second father.
“Habambuhay ko tatanawin ang utang na loob ko po sa kanya kasi kung hindi dahil sa kanya wala po ako sa kinatatayuan ko ngayon (I will forever look at my gratitude to him because if not for him, I will not be where I am now),” Nonoy also said.
Both Nonoy and Cuajao are reportedly contemplating pursuing their studies in La Salle.
“Akin po munang kokonsultahin ang aking pamilya para sa mga susunod na hakbang na aming gagawin (I will first consult my family for the next steps that I will do,” Nonoy said.
The departure of Nonoy and Cuajao came in the aftermath of a training bubble that Ayo allegedly put up in his hometown of Capuy, Sorsogon amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
At that time, practices among collegiate teams were not yet allowed. UST then launched a probe and eventually the University Athletic Association of the Philippines slapped Ayo with an indefinite ban from coaching any of the league’s member teams.
CJ Cansino was the first to depart from the Growling Tigers’ camp, claiming that he was removed from the squad during the alleged bubble.
Cansino eventually transferred to the University of the Philippines.
Rising star Jun Asuncion also left the Tigers and joined the Mapua Cardinals.
Brent Paraiso, Rhenz Abando, and Ira Bataller followed suit and left UST for Letran.*with a report from PNA