'Big Ben' Mbala shows soft side as he and UP's Andrew Harris 'kiss and make up'
La Salle big man Ben Mbala emerges from the physical rebound play against UP's Andrew Harris with a wide smile. Dante Peralta

BEN Mbala and Andrew Harris figured in a physical battle for a rebound and got entangled during the match between La Salle and University of the Philippines on Saturday.

But just when fans thought tempers would flare, Mbala, who was called for a foul in the play, hugged the Maroons center and planted a kiss on his shoulder.

Turned out they were good friends.

Harris said he wasn't aware that Mbala kissed him on the shoulder but he wasn't surprised either, saying he is friends with the Cameroonian center of La Salle.

“I actually didn’t know. My teammates are telling me that he kissed my shoulder. But I know Ben. We see each other sometimes during the offseason. So, it’s just like fun competition,” said Harris.

[See Birthday-boy Ayo lauds grit, composure of Archers in tough win over Maroons]

Mbala shared the sentiment.

“I was trying to show sportsmanship and showing the refs that we are just having fun. We are good. We are good friends,” Mbala said.

But friends or not, Harris said it was an arduous task trying to defend Mbala, who finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds in the match won by La Salle, 78-72.

“It’s really hard to guard him. He is so strong and he is athletic. You have to be on your feet every time you guard him. You have to give a 110 percent guarding him,” Harris said.

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