MANILA, Philippines – As if the UAAP Season 82 cannot get any crazier, the UE Red Warriors strengthened their Final Four bid with an 80-74 upset win over the Adamson Soaring Falcons to begin the men’s basketball second round on Saturday, October 5.
Alex Diakhite bullied his way to a career-high 29-point finish with 13 rebounds and 3 assists as UE rose to 3-5 in the standings, just half a game away from 4th place FEU.
However, the win could not have been possible without the team’s leading scorer Rey Suerte adding 27 markers as well in the close win.
For Suerte, his 25th birthday happening the day before certainly had something to do with it.
“Siyempre, araw ko. Swinerte ulit,” he said with a smile after the win.
(It’s my day. I got lucky again.)
Now that UE is back on the playoff hunt, the one-and-done guard wants more as his birthday wish.
“Sana magtuluy-tuloy pa yung mga panalo namin,” he said. “I guess ‘yung momentum, unti-unting napapasaamin na. We need to grab it na lang. Every game is our last game – ‘yun yung iniisip namin sa team.”
(Hopefully, we continue to win. I guess momentum is slowly swinging on our side. We just need to grab it. Every game is our last game – that’s what we’re thinking about in the team.)
However, the veteran guard still errs on the side of caution for a UE program that has not sniffed a Final Four berth in exactly a decade.
“Wag lang masyadong kampante sa mga panalo namin,” he continued. “Kasi yung mga panalo namin, close games lang eh. We need more aggressiveness every game. Adjust on defense and offense. Kailangan talaga naming gawin ‘yun sa mga susunod pa naming games.”
(We shouldn’t be satisfied with our wins. Because we only won close games. We need more aggressiveness every game. Adjust on defense and offense. We need to do that in our next games.)
Still, Suerte is eager to prove wrong everyone who wrote off his team as early as the preseason.
“Ginagawa naming motivation yun para tumaas yung morale namin. Kasi kung magpapaapekto kami sa mga ganyang mga sinasabi ng mga tao, bababa lang yung morale namin. Pasok sa tenga, labas sa kabilang tenga,” he said.
(We use that as motivation to lift our morale up. Because if we let those words get to us, we’ll just do worse. Those words enter one ear and just go out the other.)
Suerte and the rest of the Warriors have a chance to further solidify their campaign with a potential third straight win against the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, October 9. – Rappler.com
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