MARK Nonoy's desire to win a UAAP crown is what spurred him to choose La Salle as his next destination.
"Siguro ito ang chance ko na maabot yung pangarap ko to be a champion sa UAAP," the 5-foot-8 guard told 2OT. "Pinili ko ang La Salle kasi alam kong matutulungan ko sila at matutulungan nila ako, at isa lang goal namin, makuha ang championship."
Nonoy, the UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year, was one of the latest faces to bolt the University of Santo Tomas camp in the fallout from the Growling Tigers' controversial Bicol bubble as he and teammate Deo Cuajao were formally welcomed to the Green Archers camp on Tuesday.
The La Carlota, Negros Occidental native said it was a hard decision to leave UST.
"Malungkot kasi sa amin, gusto namin na mag-stay sa UST pero naka-hang kami, di namin alam ang mangyayari at career namin ang nakasalalay," he said.
Part of his desire was his bond with coach Aldin Ayo, who gave Nonoy his big break in Manila.
"Kasi since high school ako, siya yung kumuha sa akin from province pa-Maynila. Dapat lalaro na ako sa college pero pinalaro muna ako sa high school ng one year. Nung pag-akyat ko sa college, iba yung trust na binigay niya, yung kumpyansa on and off the court, at ginuide niya ako sa good habits. Kaya nakuha ko yung gusto niyang makuha para sa akin," he said.
Ayo, however, was handed an indefinite ban last week by the UAAP Board of Trustees.
There remains no word if the league will also sanction UST for the incident, although there are still ongoing investigations by the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Justice, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
It's this uncertainty that forced Nonoy to look for other options, and in the end, brought him to Taft.
"Loyal kami sa UST at sa coaches, pero di namin alam ang mangyayari sa UST. Last minute na kami nag-desisyon kasi inaalam namin kung anong mangyayari sa team namin, kung ma-ban ba. Hanggang ngayon, di namin alam anong mangyayari.
"Nagbigay kami ng oras para hintayin kung anong mangyayari. Ngayon lang kami nag-desisyon na aalis kami so naisip namin, it's time na lumipat kami para mahabol namin yung enrolment," he said.
The 19-year-old will be cleared to play for UAAP Season 84, where he is expected to make his La Salle debut side-by-side with San Beda transferee Evan Nelle.
"Excited ako maging teammate kami, sana matulungan namin ang isa't isa at ang team," he said.
"Sobrang excited kasi bagong kasama na naman. Bagong adjustment, bagong school, bagong community. Kailangan magadjust at I'm ready to learn something new."