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Ben Mbala reflects on Finals heartbreak: ‘You can also learn by losing’

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ben Mbala reflects on Finals heartbreak: 'You can also learn by losing' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala

As the buzzer sounded and confetti rained at center court of the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, one half of the venue was stunned. Some were in tears, while some stood in silence.

The De La Salle University Green Archers, the team that were pegged to repeat as champions this season, had just been handed a heartbreaking 88-86 loss in the title-decider.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ben Mbala reflects on Finals heartbreak: 'You can also learn by losing' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala   Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ben Mbala reflects on Finals heartbreak: 'You can also learn by losing' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala

Standing out from the sea of green was two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala. At 6-foot-7, the Cameroonian student-athlete openly wept on the floor.

“This has to be a learning experience for me. You can’t just learn by winning, you can also learn by losing.

“This is a situation that you have to learn by losing and I take it as a man,” the 22-year-old shared.

Having come off a stint with the Cameroonian national team in the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket last August, Mbala added new weapons to his arsenal. He was faster, more dangerous, and more experienced compared to his first year in La Salle. However, the league — and specifically, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles — has also improved.

During the Finals, Mbala averaged 15.67 points on 52.78 percent shooting to go along with 14.0 rebounds, 1.67 steals, and 2.67 blocks. But during Game Three, the Green Archers faltered at the most crucial of times, allowing the Blue Eagles to bomb threes all over them while settling for tough shots. This gave Ateneo a 78-70 cushion with 4:30 left in the season.

“Ateneo played better as a team. They stuck to their game plan.

“We didn’t get to play our game, we didn’t have our rhythm,” admitted Mbala. “We just played within the flow and we took a lot of bad shots, turned the ball over when it was the most important.”

Mbala has vowed to come back stronger next season once he clears things up with the Green Archers’ brass. But as of now, he just plans to move on from this painful defeat.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ben Mbala reflects on Finals heartbreak: 'You can also learn by losing' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala

“It’s a game after all, just not because it’s Ateneo or La Salle you have to hate each other,” Mbala said.

“After the game, we still have our lives and we have to keep going on with our lives.”

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