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    Mark Nonoy, Deo Cuajao say they had no issues with conditions in Bicol bubble

    Sep 19, 2020

    CONTRARY to earlier declarations of their former peers in University of Santo Tomas, Mark Nonoy and Deo Cuajao had no problems with the living conditions that the Growling Tigers had inside the controversial Bicol bubble.

    "Sa amin, wala kaming reklamo," said Cuajao.

    The new La Salle recruits made the testimonial on Radyo5 92.3's Power and Play with Noli Eala as they shed light on the incident which tore what was a promising UST men's basketball team down to shreds.

    Both Nonoy and Cuajao confirmed that there were already talks of staging the so-called bubble training as early as March when the players were sent home following the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

    "March pa lang, pagkatapos ng D-League nung pinauwi kami, pero sabi sa amin babalik kami," said Cuajao. "Yung option sana sa UST kaso bawal pa. So nasa bahay kami nila coach kasi kumpleto doon. May court siya, may weights room, tsaka may kwarto."

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    The two also confirmed the existence of waivers which they addressed to Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Ermito de Sagon, OP before heading to coach Aldin Ayo's home in Capuy, Sorsogon where the trainings were held.

    They said players who were staying in Manila were the first to head to Sorsogon, going there in mid-June, according to the two. Players who came from the provinces like Nonoy and Cuajao, arrived in Ayo's home around July 29 and 30.

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    Discussing the conditions inside the bubble, two shared that three players stayed in one room and no scrimmages were held, with the team grouped into separate sessions whenever they held their practices.

    "Nung di pa nag-start yung class, hinihiwalay yung training. Morning kami, 5 a.m. kami nagte-training. Yung nauna sa amin, nagte-training sila pag 8 a.m. pagkatapos namin. Di kami sabay-sabay sa court," said Nonoy. "Walang scrimmage pero anim kami, tapos sila hinihiwalay sila. Yung iba nasa gym, iba nasa court."

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    "In-observe namin yung protocol ng IATF. Wala naman kaming nilabag doon."

    Except that non-professional sports are still barred from holding any practices in areas under quarantine during that time period.

    That incident saw Ayo and athletic dirctor Jannel Abogado resign, while seven players, including Nonoy and Cuajao, teansfered.

    Speaking about the other concerns raised in the apparent conditions inside the bubble, Nonoy said he understood the plight of those former teammates of his who wanted to go home. But he said that never did Ayo bar anyone from heading home in the duration of the said trainings.

    "Yung isang rason na gusto nilang umuwi nila CJ (Cansino) kasi na-homesick sila," he said. "Siguro first time nila na ma-hiwalay sa family nila, di sila ganoon kasanay. Wala naman sinabi si coach na pag umuwi ka na, wala ka na sa team. Pwede naman umuwi, and then the next month, pwede kaming bumalik."

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    Cuajao added, "Meron kaming choice. Sabi ni coach, para din sa amin yun. Pwede ka namang umuwi."

    Still, Cuajao said that the situation they got in may be different from those who came earlier than them, and they're clueless on the plight that has led a few of the other Growling Tigers to speak up.

    "Yung sa mga nauna, doon may nag-reklamo. Di namin alam kung ano ang nangyari kasi late kami," he said.

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