Ben Mbala tests mettle of Ibra Ouattara as Archers go for solo lead when they take on Maroons

LA Salle guns for the solo leader as the Green Archers take on the University of the Philippines Maroons on Saturday in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Gametime is at 4 p.m.

The Green Archers enter the match tied for the lead with Ateneo with a 3-0 win-loss record.

DLSU ends the third game of what head coach Aldin Ayo described as a 'hell week' with games against National University and Adamson.

"Third game namin 'yung UP. Lahat ng mga teams ng kalaban namin, lahat contenders," Ayo said.

Ben Mbala is playing in his second game of the season after posting his UAAP career-high of 32 points in the Green Archers' win over Adamson.

UP head coach Bo Perasol knows the difficult task the Maroons face as they look to improve their 2-1 win-loss slate.

UP is actually entering a touch stretch as they battle three of the Final Four teams from last year.

Perasol noted the importance of winning UP's game over University of the East (84-71) heading into the match against La Salle.

"That is why it is important for us to get the win (against UE). I could only imagine if we lost that game going into the La Salle game. That's going to be really tough. At least now, we feel good about ourselves," said Perasol.

Perasol hopes for Ibrahim Ouattara can match up well against Mbala in the battle of imports.

"I think we will be a lot better with him. I don't think we will be better than lots of teams as far as personnel is concerned but I think we have a good fighting chance with Ibra (Ouattara) with us," said Perasol, who added in jest that the match-up in the paint is a "Cameroon versus Mali" battle.

"It will be tough but we will take our chance against a team like La Salle.

For his part, Ouattara said the battle against Mbala is a chance to learn from him.

"It will be a good experience for me. He is a strong player but for me, it's not about what I can do. It's about what the team could do, said Ouattara.

In the 2 p.m. game, winless UST (0-3) faces FEU (1-2).

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