Mbala wins second UAAP MVP award

Bandera (Mindanao) - - NEWS -

PICKING up where he left off last season, Ben Mbala was once again hailed as the Most Valuable Player for the second straight year as the La Salle big man established himself as the supreme force to be reckoned with in the collegiate scene.

The Cameroonian slotman continued his dominance for the Green Archers posting 26.0 points, 13.08 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals to finish with a 96.58 total statistical points (SPs).

But winning his second straight MVP is the least of Mbala’s concerns as he looks forward on keeping the UAAP title in Taft.

“We just want to win. We will not quit and that’s what we plan to do for the next few games: play hard and leave the rest to God,” he said, as the twice-tobeat La Salle prepares for its Final Four date against Adamson on Saturday.

At distant second in the MVP race is Ateneo forward Thirdy Ravena, who mustered 66.50 SPs, followed by NU senior JJay Alejandro at third with 63.86 SPs, and UE scorer Alvin Pasaol at fourth with 63.43 SPs.

La Salle high-flyer Ricci Rivero completes this season’s Mythical Team after finishing eighth with his 56.29 SPs. He will get the nod thanks to the UAAP ruling allowing only one foreign student-athlete to be named in the season’s best five.

Adamson bruiser Papi Sarr is at five with 63.15 SPs, as he is trailed by NU big man Issa Gaye at six (57.57 SPs), UST center Steve Akomo at seven (56.77 SPs), UP captain Paul Desiderio at nine (54.50 SPs), and Ateneo slotman Chibueze Ikeh at 10 (49.36 SPs).

Meanwhile, UP playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño was hailed as the season’s best rookie after netting 46.69 SPs powered by his averages of 11.61 points, 6.15 rebounds, 2.54 assists, and 1.0 steal. — BOSTON — Al Horford had 21 points in his return from a two-game absence for a concussion and the Boston Celtics hung on to b e a t the Toronto Raptors, 95-94, yesterday for their 12th straight victory.

Boston (12-2) was playing without Kyrie Irving after he took an inadvertent elbow to the face from teammate Aron Baynes on Friday night against Charlotte. Irving has a minor facial fracture but has not been diagnosed with a concussion as initially feared.

Jaylen Brown added 18 points, and Terry Rozier helped fill in for Irving with 16 points off the bench. Boston shot just 40.2 percent from the field.

DeMa r DeRoz a n scored 24 points, and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and seven assists for Toronto. The Raptors dropped to 7-5 after winning two straight.

Jayson Tatum’s acrobatic layup with 1:26 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Celtics up 95-90.

DeRozan missed a potential go-ahead stepback jumper with 19 seconds remaining. Tatum got the rebound, but elbowed Fred VanVleet in the face for an offensive foul that was confirmed by video review.

DeRozan had another look to give Toronto the win, butmissed a turnaround jumper with 2 seconds left. Serge Ibaka scooped up the rebound, but lost the ball as time expired. Thunder 112, Mavericks 99 In Oklahoma City, Paul George scored 37 points, Russell Westbrook added 27 and Oklahoma City overcame the absence of two regular starters to beat Dallas.

Carmelo Anthony was ruled out about an hour before tipoff because of a sore lower back, and starting center Steven Adams sat out with a right calf contusion.

Without Anthony, the Thunder’s other two superstars carried the offensive load, fueling a 26-10 run in the third quarter that broke open what had been a tight game. Oklahoma City improved to 6-7, missing its second straight after four consecutive losses.

Harrison Barnes had 22 points and 13 rebounds for theMavericks. They have dropped nine of their last 10 games to fall to 2-12. Rockets 118, Pacers 95

In Indianapolis, James Harden had 26 points and 15 assists and Houston beat Indiana.

Indianapolis native Eric Gordon had 21 points for Houston, and Clint Capela had 20 points and 17 rebounds. The Rockets overwhelmed the Pacers from the start, jumping out to a 13-2 lead. Houston continued to pile it on early and often, outscoring the Pacers 24-9 during the first 6 minutes.

Victor Oladipo had 28 points for Indiana. Pistons 112, Heat 103

In Detroit, Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Avery Bradley added 24 points in Detroit’s victory over Miami.

Reggie Jackson scored 17 points, rookie Luke Kennard had 14 and Andre Drummond added eight points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons. At 10-3, they are second behind Boston in the Eastern Conference and off to their best start since going 10-2 in 2005-06.

Hassan Whiteside had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Miami. —

BEN Mbala

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