Mark Nonoy couldn’t have chosen a better time to show up.
The feisty playmaker tied his PBA D-League career-high with 15 points, helping EcoOil-La Salle frustrate Marinerong Pilipino. That led them to ultimately cop the 2022 Aspirants’ Cup title, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“Siyempre, sobrang sarap,” he expressed after the 91-78 win.
It definitely couldn’t get any sweeter for Nonoy.
Looking back, the transferee from UST was not able to play for the entirety of the elimination round since he had to focus on academics. He was only brought back in the semifinals against Adalem Construction-St. Clare.
He brought immediate impact upon his return, dropping 15 markers as well in their 89-74 Game One win. But he hit another bump on the road after that as he missed their next three games, including the Finals opener.
Nonoy came back into the fold for Game Two of the title bout last week, but was a non-factor as he went scoreless in nearly 10 minutes of play. EcoOil-La Salle, though, managed to come out on top and tie the series.
Come Game Three, he made sure not to lay another egg.
The 5-foot-8 guard was aggressive early on, spearheading the Archers’ second-quarter surge. There, he nailed back-to-back three-pointers to power a 7-0 assault that stretched a five-point lead to a 34-22 cushion.
Nonoy and Co. gained control of the match since then.
The Skippers did show some spirit by knocking to within just nine in the fourth quarter, but there was no stopping the cagers from Taft from getting their first-ever championship in the developmental ranks.
And surely, Nonoy was one of those they have to thank.
“Nandoon ‘yung gigil namin sa Game Three kasi gustong-gusto namin mag-champion dito sa D-League,” said the UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year.
“‘Yun, nakuha namin ‘yung championship, and sobrang worth it sa trabaho namin.”