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Emotions, physicality get best of Ben Mbala in Game One

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Emotions, physicality get best of Ben Mbala in Game One Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala

As out-of-this-world as Ben Mbala may have looked over the course of the season, there were no thunderous jams nor smooth jumpers taken during Game One. Facing double- and even triple-teams by the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles all game long, the 6-foot-8 big man settled for post-ups, pass-outs, and re-posts in the 31 minutes he played.

“We couldn’t play Ben Mbala straight up one-on-one,” admitted Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespecochaga, as Mbala had averaged 23.0 points on a combined 18-for-38 shooting against them in the elimination round.

“We needed to come up with a scheme against him, and we needed all of our five guys to come up and do their roles in order to slow down Ben. That was important for us,” the Ateneo lifer added.

It meant that the Blue Eagles limited Mbala to his career-low eight points on just seven attempts from the field, six from the foul stripe. His previous worst was a 13-point outing back in September 7, 2016.

“Well, they played good defense. They were able to hold me down to eight. I give it to them,” said Mbala after La Salle’s 70-76 loss. “They just made sure that they will make me score the lowest point ever, that’s what they were able to do.

“You guys saw it, my team struggled a bit without me not being able to help in the offensive side.”

Frustrated all game long, the 22-year-old was slapped with only his second technical foul in his two-year UAAP career during the second frame. And according to him, his emotions had gotten the best of him, resulting in just two points in the final 20 minutes of the contest.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Emotions, physicality get best of Ben Mbala in Game One Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 80 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 80 DLSU Men's Basketball Ben Mbala

“I never get technical fouls during the game, meaning they were able to get in to my head. That is something that shouldn’t happen again,” Mbala vowed.

Faced with a situation they hadn’t experienced in two years, La Salle know that defeat on Wednesday, November 30, will spell the end of their season. The reigning Most Valuable Player plans to recover from this mediocre outing and come out guns slinging come Game Two.

“Expect me to be more aggressive offensively.

“Obviously if we lose the next game then it is over. We are not gonna go out here just to have a regular and mediocre game. We just have to go out there and win the game because without it, we are gonna be out,” he said.

“Everything we’ve been doing throughout the season will just be going to waste.”

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