Ben Mbala to skip Cameroon team tryout to help La Salle defend Araw ng Dabaw Invitational title

BEN Mbala has opted to skip from trying out for the Cameroon national team, as he chose to stay and play for La Salle when the Green Archers defend their crown in the upcoming Araw ng Dabaw Invitational basketball tournament.

Glenn Escandor, Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) board of trustee member, revealed on Tuesday that the prolific 6-7 Cameroonian will be back to suit up for defending champion The Royal Mandaya Hotel-City Mayor’s Office DLSU Green Archers.

“Yes, Ben Mbala is playing for the Green Archers in Davao,” said Escandor, a co-owner of the team with cabinet member Special Assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

Mbala, who was a major factor in La Salle’s title conquest in the recent UAAP wars, was earlier reported to have received a call up for Cameroon national team duty. But apparently, DLSU basketball godfather Danding Cojuangco prevailed upon Mbala to stay, according to Escandor.

With Mbala back in the fold, the reigning UAAP champion Green Archers are all set to defend their title in the 80th Araw ng Dabaw Invitational set from March 23-26 at the Davao City Recreation Center.

The Green Archers, who beat archrival Ateneo de Manila in the UAAP finals last December, will be representing The Royal Mandaya Hotel-CMO outfit. Save for UAAP Finals MVP Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres who have both graduated, coach Aldin Ayo will be steering practically the same Green Archers squad.

Former Ateneo de Davao coach Miggy Solitaria has also joined the bench and will officially serve as one of Ayo’s regular assistants. The other members of the squad are Justine Baltazar, Andrei Caracut, Mark Dyke, Jollo Go, Andrew Langston, Aljun Melecio, Kib Montalbo, Brent Paraiso, Jason Perkins, Prince Rivero, Ricci Rivero and Abu Tratter.

Tournament commissioner Cholo Elegino said the other teams who have confirmed participation are former UAAP champion National University, University of the Philippines and Montana Pawnshop.

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Still awaiting confirmation are Pacman Warrriors and the Ateneo de Manila University.

Elegino said from four teams, the tournament will be expanded to six and will have two groups playing single round robin. The top teams after the eliminations square off for the championship.

The tournament is sanctioned by the SBP.

 

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