ALVIN Pasaol’s historic night may have taken the spotlight but at the end of the day, it was still Ben Mbala and La Salle who had the last laugh.
Pasaol exploded for 49 points but the reigning UAAP MVP's numbers weren’t too shabby, either.
Mbala notched a career high himself with 39 points and grabbed 15 boards as he led the Green Archers to a 106-100 victory over the Pasaol-powered UE Red Warriors to improve to 6-1 in the UAAP Season 80.
To Mbala’s credit, this would be the third time he bested his career high in this season alone and he has no plans of stopping here.
“Well I just wanted to play smart. The UE team is very small so I capitalized on my size and my strength. I went down low, they sent me to the free throw line, I took 20 free throws and I think I made 19 of them so I just took advantage of it,” said Mbala.
But despite being competitors, the prized recruit out of Cameroon just can’t help but be amazed of Pasaol’s feat.
The two were even caught in television talking to each other and exchanging pleasantries near the end of the game, a testament of the respect that Mbala has for his foe.
“I told him to keep working. He did a great job. When a guy plays well, you have to acknowledge him,” Mbala said.
“The guy played well I can give it to him it’s a game of basketball after all, have fun. We have to enjoy and I have to congratulate him for his career-high,” he added.
What Mbala isn’t happy about however is how the way they defended Pasaol.
The bulky forward was just scoring at will, using his heft to muscle through his defenders and draining three pointers against La Salle's defense that has uncharacteristically lost its teeth.
“He was just in the zone, he played very well, he was able to lead his team. I feel like we didn't do a good job in stopping him,” Mbala continued.
“Knowing La Salle is a defensive team, for a guy to drop 50 on us... If a guy is in the zone, we have to take him out of the comfort zone.”