MARK Nonoy has certainly stamped his class this UAAP Season 82, highlighting his first year for University of Santo Tomas by winning the Rookie of the Year honors.
But what made his neophyte season more impressive was him not shying away from the pressure, stepping up his game as the Growling Tigers faced off against Ateneo in the championship round.
And as much as UST bowed to the defending champions in two games, the La Carlota, Negros Occidental native is looking at this setback as his driving force to be better for the succeeding seasons.
"Ito ang magiging motivation namin to achieve our goals," he said. "Mawawalan kami ng three seniors, pero para sa kanila ito and part sila ng ipaglalaban namin next season."
Nonoy has been nothing but solid in the Finals series, carrying the torch for the Growling Tigers.
After firing 26 points in Game One, the 5-foot-8 speedster was all over the court in Game Two, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists, showing grit and heart in their 86-79 defeat to the Blue Eagles on Wednesday.
That performance certainly left an impression on the opposing guards, including Ateneo's graduating guard Matt Nieto who gave Nonoy some words of encouragement after the duel.
"Nag-advice si Matt Nieto na ang point guard, hindi lang puro scoring. Kailangan din to lead the team, maging vocal, and create for my teammates. Yun ang advice niya sa akin para makatulong next season," he shared.
Memorable truly was this first collegiate season for Nonoy, but he vowed to continue getting better in the future as he promises to be tireless in honing his craft for UST.
"Magtatrabaho kami ni coach. Sa offseason, magsasabi sa akin si coach to be a point guard talaga. Ako, ready to accept ako kasi yun naman ang makakatulong sa amin and sa future ko," he said, with his eyes set on soon becoming a champion.
"Siguro masakit sa part namin kasi di namin nakuha goal namin, pero siguro yung sakit na ito ang bibitbitin namin next season. Magpe-prepare kami para hindi lang silver kundi para sa gold."