La Salle recruit Ben Mbala admits playing in 'ligang labas,' but claims he didn't receive compensation
Ben Mbala says he wasn't compensated for his stint in the GenSan tournament that now puts his eligibility with La Salle at risk of being extended. Jerome Ascano

EMBATTLED La Salle recruit Ben Mbala on Monday responded to accusations that he played in a commercial tournament and in the process placed his UAAP eligibility at risk of being extended for at least another year.

The 6-foot-7 forward confirmed in a message to Spin.ph that he did play in the tournament which was held during a festival in General Santos City late last year, but denied receiving any compensation for it.

“First of all, I was told that it is just a festival and they reassured me that it won't affect my eligibility,” shared Mbala. “And talking about commercial league, it is commercial when you receive money for you to play which was not the case.”

[See Mbala puts UAAP eligibility with La Salle at risk by playing in GenSan league]

The Green Archers were set to welcome Mbala to their fold in the coming UAAP season, two years after he was recruited from Cebu champions Southwestern University Cobras.

He is currently near the end of a two-year residency that bars him from playing in any commercial tournament unless he is representing La Salle or has expressed consent from the UAAP.

Mbala went as far as admitting that he even played against PBA teams in Cebu several years back but nobody said a word about it.

“By the way, I played in the Sinulog Cup in Cebu against PBA teams and no one complained but now,” Mbala shared of that particular stint before his rookie season with the Cobras two years ago.

Amid the shock over a possible violation of his residency with La Salle, Mbala was left to ponder the motive behind the revelation of his 'ligang labas' stint in GenSan.

Maybe La Salle's rivals are simply scared over his impending stint with the team, he hinted.

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“I’m really wondering what’s the reason behind all of this is. I am wondering if they are not just simply scared,” said Mbala.

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