Nonoy, Cuajao defend Ayo: ‘Players won’t get cut if they leave bubble’
MANILA, Philippines — Mark Nonoy and Deo Cuajao, former University of Santo Tomas players, came to the defense of then-head coach Aldin Ayo, who took the brunt of the criticisms over the Sorsogon bubble.
In an interview with Noli Eala’s Power and Play on YouTube, Nonoy and Cuajao said the players received proper treatment during their stay at Ayo’s compound in Brgy. Capuy and even had the freedom to go home if they wanted to.
“Those of us who came from the provinces didn’t have any problems at all,” said Cuajao in Filipino. “We don’t know about the ones who came before us, but when we got there we didn’t have any problems regarding food.”
“Coach Aldin never told us that we’re going to get cut from the team if we go home,” said Nonoy. “He just told us that we can go home as long as we return.”
Nonoy and Cuajao’s statements contradict CJ Cansino’s earlier comments. Cansino, the former UST skipper, leaked screenshots of the players’ group chat where some complained about the food served to be a tad too “oily” and that some players turned ill.
Cansino, who was the first to leave the Tigers, is now enrolled at University of the Philippines.
Ayo, meanwhile, has resigned from his post and later banned indefinitely from the UAAP.
The guards also said they and other players who lived in the provinces arrived in Sorsogon on July 29 while those living in Metro Manila had already been there for a month already.
Nonoy and Cuajao added the bubble never featured team scrimmages and that the team was broken into groups to practice social distancing and not crowd the basketball court and weight room.
They added that they were also placed under quarantine when they arrived.
“We trained separately, there were groups who would use the gym for a time while some of us were at the court,” said Nonoy. “There was also a schedule like we were at 5 am then the next group is at 8 am.”
“We stayed in one compound. We had a court and a weight room and we never left that place,” said Cuajao.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Justice have yet to give a ruling over the matter, leaving the school in a state of uncertainty.
Seven players, including Nonoy and Cuajao who have transferred to La Salle, have already bolted the team.
Nonoy said that it was a tough decision for him to leave UST but he had to if he wanted to advance his career.
“It was a very difficult decision to leave because we don’t know what will happen but we have to decide because if we didn’t then we might not make it in the one-year residency period,” said Nonoy.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.