UNIVERSITY of the East continues to beef up in the offseason as it will have two-time CESAFI MVP Rey Suerte donning the red-and-white for UAAP Season 82.
The 6-foot-3 swingman bared that he will try his luck in a one-and-done season in the UAAP, giving coach Joe Silva an added offensive weapon for his rebuilding crew.
"Nakapag-decide ako na ilalaro ko yung final year ko sa college. Pagkatapos ng D-League wala namang liga kaya nag-decide ako maglaro sa UAAP," he said.
"Gusto ko rin talaga makalaro sa UAAP. Kung ano yung intensity ng mga fans at players, gusto ko maramdaman yun."
Silva and team manager Lawrence Chongson have also confirmed the news.
Suerte, 24, admits that this foray into the UAAP will be an eye-opener for him after leading University of the Visayas to the 2018 CESAFI title.
"Mas more competitive ang UAAP kasi iba yung Manila teams, mas bigatin yung mga players at yung mga schools. Iba din yung intensity ng laro kesa sa probinsya," he said.
"Gusto ko lang tulungan yung team sa campaign nila. Hopefully, big factor ako dun na makatulong sa UAAP."
Suerte is currently suiting up for Che'Lu Bar and Grill in the 2019 PBA D-League, averaging 14.2 points on 36-percent shooting from threes, along with 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks.
He also played for the Dondon Hontiveros-coached Cebu-Max4 Birada in the recently concluded Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup.
His entry will be a big boost for the Red Warriors, which went 1-13 in this past UAAP Season 81 wars.
Changes, though, are in order, with 6-foot-9 Senegalese big man Alex Diakhite, Fil-Kiwi Richie Rodger, former Ateneo Blue Eagle John Apacible, and ex-Letran Squire Niel Tolentino bolstering the Red Warriors.
Starting point guard Philip Manalang is also set for a comeback, while super scorer Alvin Pasaol remains uncertain if he'll play out his final year with UE.