BEN Mbala finished with 45 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks as De La Salle beat Letran, 93-77, on Friday in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup.
Mbala was unstoppable inside the paint and a monster off both boards as the Green Archers vented their ire on the Knights after a defeat to arch-rival Ateneo over the weekend.
The reigning UAAP MVP shot 16-of-20 from the field and 13-of-16 from the free throw line as La Salle improved to 5-3 at the end of the elimination round.
La Salle, however, will only advance to the quarterfinals if Ateneo loses to San Beda in a match that was being played at posting time.
"Good game," said La Salle coach Aldin Ayo. "Everything that we do right now is all just preparation for the UAAP. Good thing na siguro eto na 'yung laro na may pinakamaraming assists."
Ayo was referring to the 20 assists the Green Archers issued against the Knights, the same team he led to the 2015 NCAA title.
The biggest recipient was Mbala, who had 29 points in the second half alone.
Ricci Rivero played 40 minutes and contributed 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, five steals, and two blocks for the Green Archers, who were without Kib Montalbo, Prince Rivero, and Brent Paraiso due to injuries.
Jerick Balanza had 22 points for the Letran in its final game before the Knights plunge into action in the NCAA.
La Salle 93 - Mbala 45, R. Rivero 17, Melecio 8, Santillan 8, Baltazar 5, Tratter 4, Capacio 3, Gonzales 2, Caracut 1, Go 0, Tero 0.
Letran 77 - Balanza 22, Quinto 14, Calvo 14, Ambohot 8, Vacaro 6, Caralipio 4, Balagasay 3, Taladua 3, Pascual 2, Gedaria 1, Pamulaklakin 0, Bernabe 0, Mandreza 0, De Villa 0.
Quarterscores: 20-16, 45-32, 72-54, 93-77