Mbala comes back with a vengeance as DLSU conquers Adamson

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 20, 2017 06:34 PM
Mbala comes back with a vengeance as DLSU conquers Adamson
WELCOMING COMMITTEE. Ben Mbala wasted no time imposing his will on Adamson, leading DLSU to its third win in as many games.

Without Ben Mbala, De La Salle University remained dominant in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

With Mbala making his return on Wednesday at the MOA Arena, however, they have become the odds-on favorite to go back-to-back.

The reigning and defending MVP dropped a collegiate career-best 32 points in his first game of the season and powered the Green Archers right through Adamson University, 85-73.

Mbala missed the Taft-based team’s first two assignments as he fulfilled national team duties for his home country of Cameroon.

He picked up where he left off in his first game back, scoring eight points in his squad’s 19-3 start to the game. “As expected. Kahit naman kayo, alam niyong ganun gagawin ni Ben,” head coach Aldin Ayo said post-game.

The six-foot-seven center would not let up from that point and already had 21 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in just the first two quarters as DLSU enjoyed a massive 55-35 advantage at the half.

Of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy against the Soaring Falcons who fought back to as close as seven, 66-73, with nine minutes remaining.

However, Mbala wasn’t letting them any nearer and his spin to slam fronted the 7-2 counter that re-established an 80-68 lead for the Green Archers.

That lead would be safe until the final buzzer.

In the end, the returning powerhouse also posted 10 points, four blocks, and one steal. “I will just continue to improve on the other aspects of my game,” he expressed as he also showed off his much-improved shooting stroke with two triples.

However, Santi Santillan was his only teammate also in double-digits with 10 points.

And so, Ayo said they still have much to work on. As he put it, “That was a bad win. We started strong, but down the stretch, we committed lots of mistakes.”

All of Aljun Melecio, Kib Montalbo, and Ricci Rivero only combined for 13 points.

The Green Archers had all they needed in Mbala, however, as they ascended to a 3-0 standing – all even with archrival Ateneo de Manila University for the top spot. “What’s good is not Ben is here and we can keep working on our chemistry,” their mentor said.

Rob Manalang paced Adamson with 16 points while Papi Sarr also added a 12-point, 16-rebound double-double.

Down big in the first half, they made it a game in the final frame, but just did not have enough to match Mbala. They now stand at 1-2.

BOX SCORES

DLSU 85 – Mbala 32, Santillan 10, Tratter 9, Rivero P 8, Rivero R 6, Motalbo 5, Caracut 5, Go 3, Baltazar 3, Melecio 2, Gonzales 2,

ADAMSON 73 – Manalang 16, Sarr 12, Ahanmisi 10, Pingoy 9, Manganti 8, Bernardo 8, Hill 6, Ochea 3, Lojera 1, Espeleta 0, Camacho 0, Mustre 0, Zaldivar 0

QUARTER SCORES: 36-12, 55-33, 70-61, 85-73

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