AFTER watching Ben Mbala hold his own against the Alaska Aces on Thursday night, coach Luigi Trillo has one piece of very good news for De La Salle.
"For sure, Ben is the next dominant big man after Greg Slaughter," said the Alaska coach, the morning after seeing Mbala in action for M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala in an 81-83 loss to the Aces in the Sinulog Cup pocket tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The former Southwestern University star, who has committed to join the Archers, scored a game-high 23 points while going up against the likes of Sonny Thoss, super rookie Calvin Abueva, and Aces import Robert Dozier.
"He's a very mature player for his age," Trillo said. "Actually, I put Sonny Thoss on him and later on Calvin and Robert Dozier. They defended him well but he still scattered 23 points."
The 17-year-old Cameroonian is expected to red-shirt for one year to comply with the UAAP's stringent residency rules on foreign students before suiting up for the Archers in 2014, by which time he should be ready to tilt the balance of power in the premier collegiate league, Trillo said.
"Without a doubt, once he starts playing in the UAAP, La Salle will be the favorite. Plus by the time he plays, Jeron Teng will be in his third year and (slotman Norbert) Torres in his fifth," the Alaska coach said.
"He can easily make an impact in his first year the way Kiefer did with Ateneo and Ray Parks with NU. And really I'm super elated for La Salle because it was a smart move to go and get Mbala."