Green Archer Mbala makes his mark in Cameroon’s opener
Ben Mbala's showing he can ball on the international stage as well
De La Salle Green Archer Ben Mbala made quite an impact in Cameroon’s campaign opener in the 2017 Afrobasket tournament.
Cameroon lost to one of the host teams Tunisia, 68-51, on Friday, but Mbala was the clear star, pouring in a team-high 15 points in 27.5 minutes on the court.
Playing as a forward instead of his usual center position, Mbala got to start, and showed off his improved range, hitting 3-of-7 triples, part of a 5-of-11 shooting outing, to go with six rebounds, a steal, and a block.
Mbala’s side is next slated to play Guinea, followed by Rwanda, to round out group play.
As a result of the international competition, Mbala will miss at least two of La Salle’s first two games. The defending champions open their title defense in UAAP Season 80 versus FEU on September 10, and then face the NU Bulldogs next week on September 16.
Mbala was the UAAP’s runaway MVP winner in Season 79, leading the league in points (20.6), rebounds (16.0), and blocks (2.4).
Save for Mbala, this Cameroon side is lacking in names recognizable to Pinoy hoops fans. Their original 30-man pool included NBA players Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, and Luc Mbaha a Moute, plus local college standouts Arnaud Noah (San Beda College) and Alfred Aroga, the latter formerly of the NU Bulldogs.