When press asked University of the East Red Warriors active consultant Lawrence Chongson for his thoughts on their epic 89-88 win over the DLSU Green Archers, the fiery mentor only had a few words.
“One word: Suerte. Swerte lang.”
And it’s true — UE could not have picked up their first win in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament without Rey Suerte.
Down by two with 15.4 seconds left, the 6-foot-3 swingman drained a triple to give UE the edge. Aljun Melecio then answered right back five seconds later.
“Sabi ko, ‘Patay, momentum na nila.’ Pero nag-overtake yung isang boses sa utak ko na sabi, ‘Kailangan na nating manalo’,” he recalled.
Suerte would not be denied, though. He knocked down the game-winner to deliver the season’s first upset.
Some might say that Suerte was just lucky, but he had done this before in Cebu.
“Last year, birthday ko pa yun, naka-shoot ako ng dalawang three points with just seconds to play,” he shared.
“Yung pangalawa, game-winner.”
Back in October 4, 2018, Suerte — who was playing for the University of Visayas Green Lancers — was celebrating his 24th birthday. But trying to spoil his celebration were the University of San Carlos Warriors.
Knotted at 78-all, Suerte then knocked down a clutch triple with 0.4 seconds to spare to lift his side to a win.
“Second round yun. Ganun din sa nangyari kanina,” said Suerte, who had 31 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
For him, the CESAFI and the UAAP are just the same. The only difference is the characters involved.
“Hindi naman nakakapanibago. Parehong basketball naman yun, pero mas nae-expose ang player dito. Yung teams naman dun malalakas din.”
Safe to say, Suerte’s clutch performances are not just about luck.
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