UAAP Finals: Not being on the side of victory is a learning experience - Mbala
Goliath had to fall some time.
Since his arrival in the country, Ben Mbala has taken the Philippine collegiate basketball scene like a raging typhoon. He has won numerous awards, including two UAAP MVPs, two UAAP Mythical Five selections, and most importantly, a championship.
As the most dominant player in college hoops today, there seems to be no one able to stop this colossal force from Cameroon.
Until the 2017 Ateneo Blue Eagles came along.
“You won’t always be the winner, sometimes you have to be on the side of the loser and we’re on the side of the loser,” a deflated Mbala said after the 88-86 Game 3 loss.
In tasting his first loss at a championship series since his rookie year with Southwestern University in Cebu, Mbala has taken the heartbreaking loss to Ateneo as a learning experience.
“You cannot learn by only winning, you also have to learn by losing,” a deflated Mbala said after the game. “I think, this situation, I have to learn by losing. I’d take it as a man.”
Despite posing as a very formidable challenger to the Blue Eagles, with the the Taft-based squad holding close until the final buzzer, Mbala did not mince words against his team’s performance, whose offense collapsed midway through the fourth quarter before regaining consciousness and almost did the unthinkable.
After the painful loss against the Blue Eagles, the 6’7 center did not hide his emotions, openly weeping as their blue-clad opponents celebrated as they won their first championship since 2012.
Mbala did not waste time in congratulating them as well and praised his opponents, calling them the exact opposites of what he was about to point out in his own squad.
“We didn’t get to our game. We didn’t get to our plays. We were not in rhythm, we just went with the flow and took a lot of bad shots and turned the ball over when it was the most important.”
After the loss, Mbala and coach Aldin Ayo assured that the former will be returning for his final eligible playing year in the UAAP with the whole team intact and will surely enter UAAP Season 81 with a chip on their shoulders.
In seeing his own green-laden crowd turn into a sea of green, Mbala made sure the fiercest collegiate sporting rivalry stayed on the floor, and not beyond.
“It’s just a game after all. It’s not because it’s Ateneo-La Salle that you have to hate and fight each other after it. We still have our lives. We have to keep going on with our lives.”
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