EIGHT days removed from his last game in the high school level, Mark Nonoy quickly embarked on a new chapter of his basketball career as he joined the UST seniors' team in the 2019 PBA D-League.
Nerves as expected were there, with the La Carlota, Negros Occidental native being the youngest to ever play in the developmental ranks at 18 years of age.
"Kinakabahan din ako, pero sabi sa amin ni coach Aldin (Ayo), pag kinabahan ka, sumandal ka lang sa sistema hanggang sa mawala na yung jitters sa katawan mo at makuha mo na yung kumpyansa mo sa loob ng court," he said.
It didn't take long for Nonoy to settle down as he immediately made his impact after checking in at the 5:38 mark of the first period, hardly looking like a rookie for the Growling Tigers in this season opener against Batangas-EAC.
The cat-quick playmaker ha 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal in in UST's 94-70 victory on Monday.
"Hinayaan ko lang yung laro ko. Kung anuman ang maitulong ko sa mga kuya ko, kina coach, yun lang ang ginagawa ko," he said, showing tremendous poise in 22 minutes on the court.
Aldin Ayo was pleased with the performance as he tries to fast-track the process for Nonoy, expected to become a vital piece of the puzzle for the future of the Growling Tigers.
"Right away, gusto namin makapag-adjust na siya sa college. Ang laking tulong ito and he played really well," said Ayo.
As promising as his first game was for UST, Nonoy knows there is much work for him and fellow newcomers Brent Paraiso, Rhenz Abando and Soulemane Chabi Yo.
"Syempre bagong pasok kami at kailangan namin tulungan yung mga seniors, tulungan ang isa't isa. Kung ano ang sabihin sa amin ni coach Aldin, sundin lang namin," he said.