The UE Red Warriors made a huge turnaround in the second half to shoot down the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 80-74, in the second round of the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament Saturday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.
One-and-done guard Rey Suerte showed off his refined scoring skills by tallying 26 points, adding seven rebounds and three assists.
Red Warriors big man Alex Diakhite once again finished with a career-high in scoring, ending up with a masterful 29-point, 13-rebound, three-assist, two-block performance.
Following UE's victory, both teams are now tied at 3-5, half a game behind La Salle and FEU.
Down by 11 with 3:09 left in the first half, UE outscored Adamson 28-20 in the third period to take the driver's seat.
The Red Warriors regained the lead at the 2:43 mark of the quarter as Philip Manalang swished a corner triple, 51-50.
Adamson remained within striking distance but could not get over the hump as they missed six straight free throws that would have put them ahead, but UE escaped the period with a 59-56 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
In the payoff period, UE immediately raced to a 69-60 spread, courtesy of a tip-in by Diakhite with 6:50 to go. Adamson would then respond with eight straight points to slice the lead to just one, 69-68, from back-to-back three pointers by Jerrick Ahanmisi.
The UE offense turned to the hot hands of their big, who scored off a fancy drive to the hoop and a long jumper to put them up six, 75-69, 3:26 left.
Adamson could only muster five points more down the stretch, but it was not enough, sending them to their fifth loss of the season.
Lenda Douanga posted 16 points and 17 rebounds, while Jerom Lastimosa also added 16 to the offense.
"It was a team effort. The coaches did their part, even the players and the bench players," said UE head coach Bong Tan.
UE (80) -- Diakhite 29, Suerte 26, Conner 7, Manalang 5, Abanto 3, Antiporda 3, Lorenzana 3, Apacible 2, Tolentino 2, Cruz 0, Pagsanjan 0
ADAMSON (74) -- Douanga 16, Lastimosa 16, Ahanmisi 11, Camacho 11, Chauca 9, Bernardo 3, Fermin 2, Manlapaz 2, Mojica 2, Yerro 2, Flowers 0, Magbuhos 0, Sabandal 0
Quarter Scores: 18-22, 31-36, 59-56, 80-74
- UE had a big advantage in field goals made. The Red Warriors converted 30 of their 58 field goal attempts (51.7%) while Adamson only hit 31 of 90 (34.4%).
- Alex Diakhite and Rey Suerte combined for 55 of the UE starters' 65 points.
- Val Chauca, who averaged 15.6 markers in the first round, was held to just nine.