Cameroonian Ben Mbala said this year’s University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 men’s basketball tournament champion De La Salle University won’t be contented with just one championship and they will compete to repeat next season.
After three years of wait, the 6’7 center Mbala was rewarded with a championship and the highest individual award or the Most Valuable Player trophy on his first year in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament.
“Of course we are going for the repeat next year,” said Mbala. “We are not contented with one championship and we always want the La Sallian community to be always on top. We’re going to do whatever it takes to be on top.”
Last season, Mbala almost suited up for the Green Archers but was barred by the league for another year after playing for a non-sanction league prior to the start of the 2015 season. He started his two-year residency in La Salle in 2013.
When former Letran coach Aldin Ayo arrived in La Salle last December 2015, Mbala was also became eligible to play for Season 79. Ayo sent Letran to the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship on his first year also in 2015.
Prior to the start of the season, the Green Archers were considered the league’s season favorite and they lived to the people’s expectations winning 13 of the 14 games in the elimination round. They snared the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four after becoming the No. 1 team.
They beat No. 4 Adamson University in the Final Four to set up a title duel with Ateneo De Manila University. La Salle defeated Ateneo twice in the best-of-three championship series to bag the title.
“I was crying before the game and after the game I was still crying. It was full of emotion because it was three years on the side and this is sweet,” added Mbala.
Mbala averaged 20.6 points, 16 rebounds and 2.4 blocks during the elimination round. He tallied 17 double-double performances also last season.
“It wasn’t easy people might think we went 13-1 (win-loss record) but trust me it wasn’t easy. They were times we were down and people had our backs and I want to say thank you to them.”
JOSEF T. RAMOS