MANILA, Philippines – University of the East's (UE) Rey Suerte is proving his worth for the Red Warriors and living up to his billing as a three-time champion and two-time Most Valuable Player back in Cebu.
The 23-year-old exploded for a season-high 31 points along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists, and nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the last 15.4 seconds to power UE to a stunning 89-88 victory over De La Salle University last Saturday.
His effort helped the Red Warriors nab their first win of UAAP Season 82, and earned Suerte the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week award.
"One word - Suerte. Swerte lang. It was a risk we took, but big-time players just make big-time plays," said UE active consultant Lawrence Chongson on the Red Warriors' prized recruit.
After squandering an early 13-point lead, the ballers from Recto stared at an 83-85 deficit thanks to Encho Serrano's and-one for La Salle in the last 29.6 seconds before Suerte came to the rescue and took matters into his own hands.
The 6-foot-3 swingman delivered, sinking two tightly contested shots beyond the arc -- the first, over Andrei Caracut for an 86-85 cushion in the last 15.4 seconds; and the second, over Kurt Lojera in the last 3.2 seconds for the Red Warriors' first victory in four starts.
"Kailangan namin manalo talaga kaya nasa isip ko kanina, positive lang at bawat bitaw ko, masu-shoot talaga," said Suerte.
While luck played a role in the career game of UE's one-and-done star, there is no denying his skill and heart as well.
"I just want to keep on pushing. Gusto kong matulungan yung mga bata sa team namin para in the future, madala nila yung team na ito sa other seasons," said Suerte, who is averaging 22.75 points per game so far.
Suerte bested University of Santo Tomas' super rookies Soulemane Chabi Yo and Rhenz Abando, Ateneo de Manila University's tower Angelo Kouame, and Bright Akhuetie and Kobe Paras of University of the Philippines for the weekly citation given by the print and online media covering the collegiate beat.
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