CAMEROONIAN recruit Ben Mbala had nine points, 14 rebounds, and one block in his La Salle debut as the Green Archers opened their title retention bid in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League with a 67-62 win over Jose Rizal University on Sunday.
The Archers are a win away from a place in the PCCL Elite Eight.
Mbala, a recruit from Southwestern University, is set to play for the Green Archers in next season’s UAAP wars after serving a two-year residency.
The Green Archers battle Centro Escolar University - which beat St. Clare College, 68-56 - at the end of the Luzon-Metro Manila qualifiers on Monday at the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities gym in Tanauan City, Batangas.
Rod Ebondo had 10 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks for the CEU Scorpions.
UAAP champion National University and NCAA titlist San Beda are seeded in the tournament.
Mbala made his presence felt early, scoring on a three-point play off a post move before connecting on a follow-up dunk for a 10-5 La Salle lead.
Former Emilio Aguinaldo College player Joshua Torralba also had a respectable debut with the Green Archers, scoring nine points including back-to-back baskets that made it 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
A triple by Matt Salem and a basket by Prince Rivero made it a 53-36 lead in the third, the biggest in the game.