REY Suerte put a blazing end to his short UAAP stint, leading University of the East to a 79-77 victory over National University in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Monkayo, Compostela Valley native drilled the right corner trey that put the Red Warriors ahead, 74-72, with 42.2 seconds left in the teams' season finale.
Although Dave Ildefonso knotted the score with a gutsy drive on the other end, Suerte punctuated the win with a tough one-hander off the glass to push his side up, 76-74 with 20.1 seconds to spare.
Ildefonso went short on his fadeaway, which led to Suerte and Philip Manalang icing the game at the charity stripe.
The one-and-done player from University of the Visayas ended his brief UAAP career with 28 points to help UE end the season with a 4-10 record.
"How I wish we could have done better, na mas maganda ang record, but after going trough the 14 games, let's give it to the other teams. Right now, they're head and shoulders above us," said UE active consultant Lawrence Chongson.
JV Gallego kept NU's hopes alive with a three in the last 1.2 ticks, but Manalang once again split his freebies in the final 0.4 seconds.
Alex Diakhite added a double-double of 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, while Manalang had five points, seven assists and four boards in his final game for the Red Warriors.
It was a stark improvement from UE's paltry 1-13 record the season prior, although the Recto-based squad missed the Final Four for the 10th straight year.
Gallego led NU with 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Dave Ildefonso also got 20 points, five dimes, and three boards.
The Bulldogs finished dead-last in the standings with a 2-12 card.
UE 79 - Suerte 28, Diakhite 17, Abanto 6, Cruz 6, Pagsanjan 6, Manalang 5, Mendoza 5, Antiporda 3, Tolentino 3, Apacible 0.
NU 77 - Gallego 20, D. Ildefonso 20, Gaye 10, S. Ildefonso 9, Clemente 5, Oczon 5, Galinato 4, Joson 2, Minerva 2, Rangel 0, Yu 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21; 37-42; 59-57; 79-77.