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    Ben Mbala's dogged determination, new-found maturity earn praise from La Salle coach

    Jun 13, 2016
    Ben Mbala stood out in La Salle's sweep of the preseason tournament. Jerome Ascano

    BEN Mbala broke a couple of records and brought home a haul of awards on the way to leading La Salle to the championship in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup.

    But the Green Archers big man isn't focused on the now but on the future, saying his ultimate goal is to reclaim lost glory for the Taft-based squad in the UAAP which begins in three monhs.

    “I’m not really aware of those things I’m doing right now," said the Cameroonian center after a 28-point, 26-rebound performance in the Green Archers' 86-74 win over Arellano in the title game.

    "I’m just focused on what coach is asking me to do. I’m really trying to play what the coaches want me,” he added.

    Still, it's hard to ignore what Mbala has shown in a preseason tournament where he scored 225 in La Salle's sweep of its 10 games - 15 points more than the previous record set by then Far Eastern University guard RR Garcia in 2010.

    His eight blocks in the finals was also a league record.

    No wonder the 6-7 center was named Tournament MVP and top defensive player while joining teammates Jeron Teng and Abu Tratter, among others, in the mythical team.

    [See La Salle to test self in games against PBA teams in run-up to UAAP season]

    Mbala, though, insisted all he ever wants to do is heed La Salle coach Aldin Ayo's call to be a presence on both ends of the court.

    Continue reading below ↓

    “He wants me to be everywhere offensively and defensively. I’m not looking for points or blocks. I’m just doing what my coaches ask me to do,” said Mbala of the first-year La Salle coach.

    Ayo is naturally pleased with his ward, particularly with Mbala's attitude at this point of the preseason.

    “Ben just wants to win. Kung gusto niyang manalo kami sa rebounds, magre-rebound siya. Kung gusto niyang manalo kami sa puntos, pupuntos siya. Kung ano man ang i-order mo, gagawin niya,” said Ayo.

    "He is willing to sacrifice himself for the team. He’s really matured and gusto niyang manalo."

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    Ben Mbala stood out in La Salle's sweep of the preseason tournament. Jerome Ascano
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