BEN Mbala's string of impressive performances for the Cameroon national team in the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket may have earned him a new role once he returns to La Salle for UAAP Season 80.
Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo admitted that he’s considering playing the Cameroonian big man on the wings at times whenever they want to go with a tall-ball tactic this season.
What made Mbala's run with Cameroon all the more impressive is that he's playing outside of his usual position of center in the UAAP, assuming the role of a forward for his mother country.
Mbala has surprisingly thrived in that role, averaging 18.3 points in the group stages to tow Cameroon to the quarterfinals of the tournament. He's also been consistently looking for his shots from beyond the arc, making 1.6 threes per game.
Ayo is the least surprised with the way Mbala adapted to his new role in Cameroon as he knows how the reigning UAAP MVP works.
“Si Ben, we always tell him to do new things kasi 'yung bata, grabe ang work ethic. So we might convert him to 3-spot when he comes back," said Ayo.
"He can play 2,3,4,5 for us now because of the skill set that he has developed," he added.
The La Salle big man could play as early as next Saturday when they take on the NU Bulldogs, assuming Cameroon fails to go deep in the tournament.
"Depende sa resulta ng game. Pero ang sabi niya kung walang mangyari doon, he might be back before NU."
But with the way they played against the FEU Tamaraws where they dominated before cruising to a 95-90 win, this team is still certainly dangerous despite Mbala's absence.
Ayo lauded all four of his big men in stepping their game up to fill the void that Mbala left.
"Maganda 'yung nilaro ni Abu (Tratter). Napunuan 'yung spot ni Ben. Maganda rin ang nilaro ng mga bigs. Actually the four guys contributed, the four big guys contributed. Prince (Rivero), Santi (Santillan), even Balti (Justine Baltazar). He gave us quality minutes off the bench," said Ayo.