A new journey begins for the two former members of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers men’s basketball squad.
This was after last year’s Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy and Dennis Cuajao were formally accepted into the La Salle Green Archers’ fold yesterday.
They were welcomed by the team’s new supporter, presidential son-in-law Manases “Mans” Carpio, who is the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter.
Carpio gave Nonoy and Cuajao a warm welcome following a visit to the Southern Mindanao metropolis with their manager-guardian Jackson Chua of Team Phenom Sports.
“Through the years, La Salle has become one of the biggest and proudest collegiate basketball programs in the country. My goal is to open the doors of the school to more homegrown players who cannot afford to study there through sports,” said Carpio in a statement.
Nonoy, a 5’8” point guard, and Cuajao, joined 6’7” National University standout Kevin Quiambao as among the new recruits of the Green Archers this season.
Nonoy averaged 11.11 points, 3.83 rebounds and 2.78 assists per game during his first year in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines last season.
The 6’1” Cuajao normed 17.5 point per game with the Tigers.
Carpio is a La Salle alumnus, who earned his political science degree back in 1998.
Both players will now undergo two years of residency and are expected to suit up in Season 85 of the UAAP.
A total of seven players have left the UST team since controversy involving the squad began last August 20, following a training camp in Sorsogon at the height of the pandemic.
That was when skipper CJ Cansino was removed from from the team after he made efforts to explain to coach Aldin Ayo his mental health issues at that time.
Cansino eventually transferred to the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
Also leaving for other schools were Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller, Brent Paraiso and Ferdinand Asuncion.
When Ayo, who was slapped an indefinite suspension by the UAAP for the Sorsogon camp, gave up his post, assistant coaches McJour Luib and Jinino Manansala also quit.