The UE Red Warriors closed out their UAAP Season 82 men's basketball campaign with a 79-77 win over the NU Bulldogs Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Warriors snapped their five-game skid to finish in seventh place with a 4-10 record. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, stayed at the bottom and ended with a 2-12 slate.
"Sad to say that was our last game in our college career," UE's one-and-done star Rey Suerte said in Filipino. "It's a heavy feeling but we're still happy that we won our last game."
NU was still ahead by five with 2:23 left in the game after a basket from Dave Ildefonso before Suerte took over in the clutch for the Red Warriors.
Suerte knocked down the go-ahead triple with 42.2 seconds left, but Ildefonso quickly responded with a layup to force a 74-all deadlock.
Suerte drove to the hoop in the last 20 seconds to give back the lead to UE. Philip Manalang and Suerte stretched it to 78-74 after splitting their free throw attempts.
The Bulldogs ran out of time as JV Gallego's last-second shot from downtown was not enough to tie the score and send the match to overtime.
Suerte delivered 28 points for the Red Warriors including 17 in the second half. Alex Diakhite added a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
"How I wish we could have done better," said UE coach Lawrence Chongson. "But after going to the 14 games, let's give it to the other teams. Right now, they're head and shoulders above us."
NU wrapped up the season with a five-game slide. Ildefonso and Gallego topped with 20 points each in the loss.
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.
Quarters: 22-21, 37-42, 59-57, 79-77.
-- The Red Warriors slightly improved from a 1-13 finish last year.
-- This is the Bulldogs' worst record in the last decade or since they ended with the same 2-12 record in Season 71. Their only wins this year came at the expense of the FEU Tamaraws.
-- Aside from Rey Suerte, Philip Manalang, Jed Mendoza, and Nick Abanto also played their last games for UE.