Coach Ayo says other Archers took a step back after Mbala’s return

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 25, 2017 03:46 PM
Ayo says other Archers took a step back after Mbala’s return
MISSING. DLSU has been a one-man show ever since reigning and defending MVP Ben Mbala came back.

Ben Mbala scored a collegiate career-best 34 points and made good on a career-high four triples, but still saw De La Salle University fall for the first time in the season to University of the Philippines.

The reigning and defending MVP was a one-man show last Saturday, accounting for 39 percent of his team’s output. He converted 11 of his 19 shots while the rest of the team only hit 20 of their 59 attempts.

All of Aljun Melecio, Kib Montalbo, and Ricci Rivero combined for just 22 points in 9-of-31 shooting as well as seven turnovers.

Asked about it, head coach Aldin Ayo answered, “Sort of problematic kasi pagdating ni Ben, they took a step back. ‘Di nila nakuha rhythm nila.”

Indeed, that was not the first game the non-Mbala Green Archers struggled.

Even in a victory versus Adamson University last Wednesday, Melecio, Montalbo, and Rivero combined for just 13 points in 6-of-22 shooting as well as 10 turnovers.

That was the Cameroonian powerhouse’s first game back in the UAAP after missing the first two games due to his commitment to his national team.

For Ayo, Melecio, Montalbo, and Rivero just have to power through their reconfigured setup with a dominant force like Mbala at the middle of it all. “I’ve been telling them, especially Aljun, he just has to play his game,” he expressed.

The fiery mentor said fatigue may have also been a factor. “Siguro, baka pagod. This is our third game and with the system we have, both ends of the floor, we keep on running, baka physically drained mga bata,” he said.

Before taking on UP last Saturday and Adamson last Wednesday, DLSU also matched up with National University last September 16.

For their part, skipper Montalbo said they have no doubt they will bounce back sooner than later. “I think we’re just not playing our game. But we’ll bounce back for sure,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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