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Ben Mbala on recovery against Isaac Go: ‘Never quit on defense’

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ben Mbala on recovery against Isaac Go: 'Never quit on defense' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala Aldin Ayo

There was a huge sigh of relief on the faces of every La Sallian in attendance during the Green Archers’ 79-76 come-from-behind win against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles. And the result should be attributed to the quick thinking of reigning Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala.

The De La Salle University rallied back from a 69-76 to go up 77-76. The Green Archers needed to make one stop.

However, a beautifully drawn-up inbound play by Tab Baldwin resulted in Isaac Go being freed up underneath their basket. But the 6-foot-7 center missed a hook shot — a trademark shot of his — leading to the game-sealing free throws of Ricci Rivero.

“We got lucky at the end game, especially Isaac Go’s semi-hook. It was uncontested. Luckily, it did not go in,” recalled second-year La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo of that moment.

Luck may have played a small part during that sequence. During that said play, Ben Mbala recovered quickly from the defensive lapse they had made. With Mbala catching up, Go had to adjust his shot on the fly, resulting in a miss.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ben Mbala on recovery against Isaac Go: 'Never quit on defense' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala Aldin Ayo

During that time, the 22-year-old Cameroonian student-athlete had one thing in mind: never quit on defense.

“Coach always told me to never quit on defense. Just always be there and try your best to give him the hardest shot he can have, and that’s what I try my best to do,” said Mbala, who finished the game with 28 points, 19 rebounds, six steals, and six blocks.

“I was trying to jump straight up and that’s the only thing I was able to do, because if I foul him, that would have been two easy free throws. Luckily he missed the shot, Ricci was able to get the rebound. That was enough,” the Cameroon national team member added.

And Mbala plans to do the same once the post-season opens its curtains.

“We kept pushing and we just gave our everything and we left the rest to God, and it was able to help us win the game, and that’s what we plan to do for the next few games. Play hard and leave the rest to God.”

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