De La Salle University slotman and reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ben Mbala was named to the 30-man pool released by the Cameroonian Basketball Federation (FECABASKET) for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) AfroBasket 2017 tournament.
Head Coach Lazare Adingono made the announcement of the pool headlined by National Basketball Association (NBA) players Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Luc Mbah a Moute of Los Angeles Clippers and Pascal Siakam of Toronto Raptors.
The 22-year old Mbala, who averaged 20.6 points and 16 rebounds per game to lead the Green Archers to a crown against archrivals Ateneo de Manila, has been in the radar of the FECABASKET ever since he became the MVP in the 2011 NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in Johannesburg.
But the high-flying Mbala, then a 17-year old promising cager, opted to bring his acts to the Southwestern University Cobras and spent a couple of years there before transferring to La Salle in 2013.
He was responsible, together with Finals MVP Jeron Teng, in bringing back the crown to Taft after sweeping the Blue Eagles in the best-of-three championship series.
Mbala said he’s honored to be part of the pool but will seek permission first of the Green Archers and the UAAP if he can participate in the training camp.
Right now, Mbala’s chances of suiting up for the Cameroonian five in the AfroBasket 2017 is very slim due to scheduling problem as the six-nation tournament is set on August 19 to 30 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
The UAAP men’s basketball tournament usually starts in August and ends in December.
Besides Mbala, San Beda’s Arnaud Noah and Alfred Aroga of National University were also part of the 30-man pool for Cameroon, which is bracketed in Group E along with Chad and Gabon. In Group F are hosts DR Congo, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.