CEBU CITY - Even with the bright lights of the big stage shining on him, University of the Visayas wingman Rey Anthony Suerte delivered one eye-popping performance after another in a breakout performance in the 2017 Philippine Collegiate Champions League.
While the Green Lancers failed to advance past the Elite Eight stage with just a win against two losses, Suerte made a lasting impression after he averaged a tournament-high 27.5 points on top of 12 rebounds and four assists.
The pride of Monkayo, Compostela Valley admitted that he, too, was surprised by his showing and explained that he merely wanted to step up after his fellow wingman, Tristan Albina, got injured.
“I couldn’t believe my performance there, either. All I thought about was I needed to step up since Tristan (Albina) got injured,” said the 6-foot-1 off-guard, who won Cesafi MVP honors in 2016.
Though they couldn’t get past powerhouse squads Lyceum and Ateneo, Suerte said the lessons that he and his teammates got from those tight matches would serve them well in the future.
“It really was an honor to play against the top-caliber teams in Manila like Ateneo and Lyceum. We learned a whole lot in our games against them. It makes us all proud that we got to play against them,” said Suerte.
UV head coach Gary Cortes, who had a front-row seat to Suerte’s dominant performances which included a 30-point showing against Naga College Foundation, said he was the least bit surprised by his player's standout games.
“That is the fruit of his dedication and hard work in every practice session that we have,” said the UV coach.
Though he admits that he still needs to develop his maturity on the floor, Suerte shared that he is excited to one day play in the PBA D-League, if the opportunity presents itself.
“After I get my college degree, if there’s a chance that I can play in the D-League, why not? But first, I really need to finish my studies first,” Suerte said.