UAAP: UST's point guard of the future comes from James Yap's school

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 20, 2018 05:43 PM
UST's point guard of future comes from James Yap's school
UST rookie sensation Mark Nonoy hails from the same school that produced Philippine basketball legend James Yap

University of Sto. Tomas is all set at the off-guard position with CJ Cansino.

More and more, it’s looking like they will also be all set at point guard with another promising prospect from their high school program in Mark Nonoy.

The first-year player out of Negros Occidental has taken the league by storm and just in his third game in the UAAP Juniors, tallied a triple-double.

At the end of the first round, Nonoy has per game counts of 18.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 steals – numbers that inspire nothing but hope for the Growling Tigers and their faithful. “Yan ang magiging mukha ng UST pagdating ng panahon,” Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo even had to say.

For his part, the fact that he is being seen as a reason for UST to hope is actually not something to be pressured about.

In fact, the certainty that he will transition from being a Tiger Cub into a Growling Tiger was exactly what made him to come to Manila in the first place. “Tinanggap ko po yung offer nila kasi tuloy-tuloy na po hanggang Seniors. Yung sistema po ni coach Aldin, ina-apply na ni Coach Bonnie [Garcia] para pagdating sa Seniors, konting adjustment na lang,” he said.

From now until then, the 5-foot-8 playmaker has one promise – to keep playing with an attack-first mindset, whether that be on offense or defense. “Ako po, lagi ko lang pong ipapakita yung aggressiveness ko,” he said.

After all, that attack-first mindset is what caught the eye of the UST coaching staff when they scouted, and ultimately recruited, him from the 2018 Palarong Pambansa.

As it turns out, that attack-first mindset is also the trademark of players from Hua Siong College – you know, the same school that produced Philippine basketball legend James Yap?

Asked about his idols, of course, Nonoy answered that his ultimate idol is his schoolmate. “Si James Yap po. Unang-una, pareho po kaming galing sa Hua Siong College of Iloilo. Tapos grabe po talaga yung tapang niya sa loob,” he said.

Whether or not “Big Game James” is his inspiration, though, UST’s tantalizing talent said he just has aggressiveness in his veins. “Sila mama po kasi, ganyan talaga, matapang kaya inborn na rin talaga sa akin yun. Nandito na sa dugo ko,” he said.

He then continued, “Kaya kahit first time ko rito sa Manila, tinatapangan ko lang kasi ito yung gusto nila para sa future ko at ito rin yung makakatulong sa amin sa huli. Sa kanila mama ako kumukuha ng tapang sa loob ko sa paglalaro ng basketball.”

And so, with Nonoy and the aggressiveness in his veins in tow, everybody could just expect that both the Tiger Cubs – and the Growling Tigers when he gets there – will always keep coming.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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