BENOIT Mbala scored 41 big points and powered Southwestern University to a 93-91 overtime win over University of Santo Tomas on Sunday in the Final Four of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League at the Arena in San Juan.
The towering Cameroonian accounted for all but six of the Cobras’ 16 points in the extra period to clinch their first win in three semifinal games of the tournament.
Mbala poured in five unanswered points halfway through overtime to erase an 81-81 deficit and give the Cobras an 86-83 lead.
His two charities later in the game finally sealed the outcome of the match as the Cobras dealt the Tigers – who have already clinched a berth in the championship round — their first loss in the Final Four.
In asserting his dominance, Mbala shot 48 percent from the field, made 15 of 18 from the stripe, grabbed 16 rebounds, had an assist and a steal, while blocking four shots.
“This is our first time to win (against) UAAP teams,” said fiery SWU coach Yayoy Alcoseba. “The PCCL is an additional experience, very good exposure not just for the players, but also for the school. We play with the best schools. ”
Monbert Arong added 17 for the reigning Cebu Schools Athletic Federation Inc (Cesafi) champions, including five three-pointers, the last of which finally gave Southwestern the lead, 92-89 in the final 29 seconds of overtime.
Bonifacio Guillena and Bernie Bregondo each had 11 for the Cobras.
“Arong is a player who has no conscience in shooting. Buti it paid off, pag may heart and will, good things will come,” Alcoseba added.
Jeric Teng and Aljon Mariano came away with 20 points apiece for the Growling Tigers, who tied the game for the last time at 89-all on Mariano’s back-to-back baskets. Tata Bautista and Melo Afuang chipped in 14 and 10, respectively.
“Ok lang matalo ngayon, wag lang sa Finals. Wala din kasi yung dalawa,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio referring to big men Karim Abdul and Kevin Ferrer, who are both out due to knee and back injuries, respectively.
UST will face the winner of the Final Four game between San Beda and Ateneo on Tuesday in the title series.
Southwestern University (93) - Mbala 41, Arong 17, Guillena 11, Bregondo 11, Nalos 6, Aboude 5, Dedace2, Goloran 0, Ortuyo 0.
Santo Tomas (91) - Teng 20, Mariano 20, Bautista 14, Afuang 10, Pe 8, Fortuna 7, Lo 4, Vigil 3, Garrido 3, Hainga 2, Villar 0, Daquioag 0.
Quarterscores: 16-22; 40-39; 57-56; 77-77 (reg); 93-91.