Downing Mbala-led La Salle jewel in new-age Ateneo's crown, so says Kiefer

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 10, 2020 05:49 PM
Downing Mbala-led La Salle jewel in new-age Ateneo's crown
Ateneo denied Ben Mbala of complete and utter dominance in his two years in La Salle

Ateneo de Manila University has been the king of UAAP Men's Basketball for the last three years.

The Blue Eagles' most recent championship even had them making history as the first team to sweep the season - both elimination and championship rounds.

Three-time Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena, though, is not necessarily keen on saying that title was their most impressive.

Asked in his appearance on The Prospects Pod which team in the three-peat was the best of the bunch, he paused for quite a while before answering, "Ang hirap kasi eh."

Not long after, host Kiefer, Thirdy's older brother, chimed in with his mind on the matter. "In my opinion, the team that beat the Mbala DLSU was the strongest," he said.

The elder Ravena was referring to the Ateneo's Season 80 squad that dethroned De La Salle University led by back-to-back Season MVP Ben Mbala.

After losing to the Green Archers the year before, the Blue Eagles came back with a vengeance and bested their archrivals in the three-game Finals.

"That was the biggest test for them eh," Kiefer said. "The previous year, they lost to almost the same team and they faced them again. Then they did what people said was an impossible task - beat Mbala-led DLSU so for me it was that team (that was the strongest)."

Thirdy could only acknowledge that manong had a point.

At the same time, however, he reminded everybody about a particular perfect season that had just happened. As he put it, "May point nga si manong, pero ang hirap din (i-discredit) yung 16-0 eh. Just the fact na wala ngang school na nakagawa nun so ang hirap din sabihin."

Indeed, it remains up for debate which between the two teams was more impressive.

What's for sure, though, is that the debate lies on those two teams.

Asked by a host, "So it's either the first or the third?"

The Japan-bound pride of the blue and white replied, "Oo eh."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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