From start to finish of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup, Ben Mbala proved that he’s worth the wait for De La Salle Green Archers.
In his 10 games this preseason, Mbala posted an impressive, record-shattering output on both sides of the court while leading La Salle to a perfect run for their 4th title in the tournament.
The 22-year old Cameroonian big man hurdled past former FEU star guard RR Garcia’s record in points after scoring 28 in the Finals against Arellano Chiefs to finish with 226 markers.
After 3 years of sitting out due to residency rulings and league sanction for playing in a commercial league, Mbala played like a beast unleashed after averaging 22.9 points, 15.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game prior to the finals.
And head coach Aldin Ayo attested that Mbala is exactly what the doctor ordered for La Salle, who is still searching for a UAAP title since 2O13.
“He just wants to win, kung mananalo kami sa rebound, magrerebound lang yan, di sya pupuntos, kung mananalo kami sa puntos, pupuntos to,” said Ayo. “Kung ano yung iorder mo dito, gagawin nito ni Ben.”
“He’s willing to sacrifice himself for the team. He’s matured enough and yun nga gustong manalo, kami rin naman gustong manalo,” he added, noting that his import once scored 30 points or more against PBA players.
Making a big statement on his impending entrance in the Manila’s prestigious collegiate league, Mbala took all the individual awards taking the MVP, Best Defensive Player and a spot in the Mythical 5.
But the 6-foot-7 slotman, though, stressed he is a team-first player.
“I’m just really trying to help the team as much as I can. I’m not looking for those things, you know, I just really want to be there for the team and my teammates,” he said.
“I’m just really looking to help the team and follow what the coach is asking me to do,” he added.
Still, all the seven teams now have 3 months or less to prepare for the beast unleashed from Taft. – By Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH