AS La Salle's quest back-to-back UAAP titles ended on a three-point shot by Far Eastern University forward Mac Belo, Ben Mbala was already plotting redemption for the Green Archers next season.
The 6-foot-7 Cameroonian personally witnessed Belo break the hearts of the legions of Archers fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night in a 67-64 win that sent the Tamaraws to the finals.
“I think next year is gonna be a different story. I just try to add something missing to the team, try to give my best to the team and try to regain the crown, hopefully the championship,” Mbala said after the game.
La Salle fans are hopeful that Mbala’s entry next season would make the Archers even more formidable in the paint, considering the solid numbers the hulking center posted in the PCCL in 2012.
The wide-bodied Mbala averaged 27 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks while playing for the Southwestern University Cobras in the 2012 PCCL semifinals in Manila.
He was eventually lured to the Archers camp in 2013, where he has red-shirted for the past two years.
The power-playing Mbala, a former MVP of the Basketball Without Borders Africa camp, will be ready to play La Salle next season after fulfilling the two-year residency rule for foreign players.
“Talking about pressure, I can’t really say something about it, but I just keep working hard, spend time and giving my best,” added Mbala.
Mbala could easily take the spot of Norbert Torres, who, along with playmaker Almond Vosotros, played their final UAAP eligibility year with La Salle this season.