La Salle’s Mbala named UAAP player of the week

Business World - - WORLD SPORTS - Michael An­gelo S. Murillo

SO­LID­I­FY­ING his stand­ing as the most dom­i­nant player in the Univer­sity Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of the Philip­pines (UAAP) right now, De La Salle Univer­sity big man Ben Mbala snagged an­other ac­co­lade by be­ing named player of the week.

Punc­tu­ated by his all-around per­for­mance in their 79-76 win over ri­vals Ate­neo Blue Ea­gles last Sun­day that ef­fec­tively de­railed the lat­ter’s bid to sweep the elim­i­na­tion round and earn a di­rect pass to the fi­nals, Mr. Mbala got the nod for the weekly plum given by the UAAP press corps.

Hit­ting 50% ( 10- of-12) of his field goals, Cameroo­nian Mr. Mbala wound up with a game­high 28 points to go along with 19 re­bounds, six steals and six blocks to thwart Ate­neo in its push.

Just as the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Archers found the go­ing tough early in the fourth pe­riod, Mr. Mbala came to the res­cue to steady their ship, al­low­ing them to come up big in the close­out to se­cure the win. “We just wanted to win. We didn’t quit. Coach [Aldin Ayo] told us, never give up,” Mr. Mbala said as he spoke of what did it for them in the cru­cial game.

“Coach told me to never quit on de­fense, to just al­ways be there … He told me to stay com­posed and not overdo ev­ery­thing,” he added.

In win­ning the weekly award, which is con­sid­ered by many as a pre­lude to him win­ning his sec­ond straight league most valu­able player award, Mr. Mbala beat out Paul Deside­rio of Univer­sity of the Philip­pines, Steve Akomo of Univer­sity of Santo To­mas, and Arvin To­lentino of Far East­ern Univer­sity.

Mr. Mbala and the Archers right now are pre­par­ing for the Adamson Soar­ing Fal­cons in their Fi­nal Four en­counter be­gin­ning on Satur­day. —

BEN MBALA of the De La Salle Green Archers

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