BEN Mbala is proving to be a hot prospect among Manila-based college basketball powers.
The giant Cameroonian has been soliciting a lot of attention following his dominant act in the ongoing Philippine Collegiate Champions league (PCCL) where Southwestern University is seeing action.
The Cobras’ foreign center is making his presence felt in the tournament by way of his overriding plays inside the paint.
Ronnie Magsanoc, head coach of reigning three-time NCAA men’s champion San Beda, is among those Mbala has impressed upon.
“Magaling talaga,” said Magsanoc of Mbala, who once became the MVP of the Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp.
It was the Red Lions who first got to test the mettle of Mbala, who torched the NCAA champions for 27 points as he led a spirited endgame comeback by the Cobras, the reigning Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) champions.
Unfortunately, the Cobras fell short in the end as the Red Lions escaped with a 72-73 decision.
“Malakas na malakas at rumaragasa talaga. Na-pump up sila noong second half (dahil kay Mbala),” said Magsanoc.
For his part, Ateneo assistant coach Gabby Severino said the team knew what Mbala can bring to the table after seeing the big man play in the University Games.
“He is very strong. He can shoot from the outside. He is very good underneath. He is a complete player in that aspect,” Severino said.
Against the Blue Eagles last Friday, Mbala was neutralized to only 15 points after he was saddled with foul trouble. He suited up for only 22 minutes as he went one-on-one against Ateneo big man Greg Slaughter, who incidentally played for University of Visayas during his early days in college.
“I thought he scored more (if not for the) foul trouble. He had trouble with Greg also. But if he played the whole 40 minutes, he’ll score more than 15 points,” Severino said.
“It’s good that we had Greg kasi nailang din siya. Pero mahirap bantayan,” he added.
That the chance to play against Mbala came at a time when Slaughter has ended his collegiate career in the UAAP, prompting Severino to jokingly inquire about him.
“Puwede ba namin siya makuha?” he said in jest.