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New Zealand youth team player set to be Ben Mbala’s replacement



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times New Zealand youth team player set to be Ben Mbala's replacement Basketball DLSU News UAAP  UAAP Season 81 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 81 Taane Samuel DLSU Men's Basketball
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La Salle has always been ready

The De La Salle University Green Archers have always known that the day will come when Cameroonian student-athlete Ben Mbala will no longer be eligible for them.

Waiting in the wings and already serving his residency is 6-foot-8 New Zealand youth team member Taane Samuel.

Samuel, 18, is already playing for La Salle’s Team B squad in the Milcu Got Skills tournament and the Fr. Martin’s Cup. Moreover, even at such a young age, he already has a wealth of international experience under his belt.

The forward last played for the Kiwis during the 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Championship held in Cairo, Egypt last July. Though New Zealand finished with a 3-4 slate, good for 11th in the tourney, Samuel was the second-leading scorer of the team at 12.1 points per contest.

The Kiwi student-athlete also played in the 2015 FIBA Oceania Under-18 Championship, averaging 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.

According to a school official who asked to be anonymous, Samuel has been attending classes since the school’s first term that started last September. Fresh out of high school when he came to the Philippines, he should be eligible for the 81st season of the UAAP.¬†Samuel can play the whole five years.

Another source added that although Samuel is not as polished as Mbala, the ceiling is high for the Wellington, New Zealand-born student-athlete.