BEN Mbala has a message to all those calling for a separation between foreign and local players when it comes to individual awards in the college leagues: Stop looking for excuses.
This was the La Salle star's response after being formally awarded his second straight MVP award in the UAAP basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Well-known players like Kobe Paras and Nico Salva all publicly came out supporting the call for separate awards for local players and foreign recruits, but Mbala is having none of it.
For the Cameroonian powerhouse, if you're good enough to win the MVP, you'll win it.
"It’s pretty funny, you know, cause since I’ve been here I’ve seen a local guy win MVP even with, like they call us, imports," Mbala said, apparently taking offense from the 'import' tag.
"Like, there’s (Kiefer) Ravena had back to back, Bobby (Ray Parks Jr.) had back to back so if you’re good, you’ll get it. Right now, I just feel like they’re looking for excuses," he added.
Mbala even cited NCAA MVP CJ Perez who won the award despite the presence of dominant foreign recruits in San Beda's Donald Tankoua and Perez's own teammate Mike Nzeusseu.
Having played in the country since he was 17, Mbala, who started his Philippine career with Southwestern University in Cebu, finds such notions uncalled for and downright unfair.
"Why in the NCAA, (CJ) Perez was able to get it even with a lot of imports? It doesn’t matter if you’re Filipino or foreign student-athlete. If you work for the MVP, then you will (win it)," Mbala continued.
"If not, don’t look for excuses like divide it in local and foreign. It’s pretty unfair. That’s now how it was supposed to be."