Stunning loss to Ateneo a timely wake-up call that will only make La Salle stronger, says Ben Mbala
Ben Mbala had another big double-double but struggled on the floor with Ateneo's swarming defense. Jaime Campos

BEN Mbala considered La Salle’s loss to Ateneo on Saturday as a timely wake-up call for the Green Archers be even more driven in their UAAP Season 79 campaign.

Mbala finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds but his effort was not enough as the Green Archers succumbed to their first loss of the season following an 83-71 decision against the Blue Eagles.

The loss snapped a 12-game unbeaten run for the Green Archers, who will also have to go through a Final Four instead of an automatic spot in the finals that goes with a sweep of the elimination round.

Despite his big numbers, Mbala shot 5-of-13 from the field as the Blue Eagles’ defense proved to be a key to their victory. But the Cameroonian big man said the defeat only serves as motivation for him and the Green Archers to push forward.

“It’s a loss and you should learn from it,” said Mbala. “We have to come back stronger. This loss will make us wake up.”

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo also lauded the effort of his prized player, who’s the runaway leader in the MVP race this season, despite a poor shooting game.

“Tao lang din naman siya, nagkakamali. Pero nandun naman ‘yung effort eh. Medyo nahirapan lang siya sa mga tawag pero alam naman niya ‘yun. One of those days. Pero you can’t question his effort,” said Ayo.

With the loss now behind him, Mbala noted the importance of finishing strong before heading to the Final Four as the Green Archers face Far Eastern University in their final regular season game of the year.

“I felt that we didn’t play our game. We still have to work on our game before the Final Four. Let’s see. It’s good and it’s bad (the loss) but we have to look at the good side and the good side is we should work hard on the things that we didn’t do well today,” said Mbala. 


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