March 22, 2018, 8:13 am
Facebook iconTwitter iconYouTube iconGoogle+ icon

Mbala powers La Salle past Adamson

IT did not take long for reigning MVP Ben Mbala to make an impact in his return game for the Green Archers.

The 6-foot-7 Cameroonian import notched a new career-high 32 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as La Salle averted what could have been a huge meltdown with an 85-73 victory yesterday over gritty Adamson and gained a share of the lead in the 80th UAAP basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Mbala, who arrived in the country last Sept. 17, played his first game of the season after suiting up for his home country Cameroon in the FIBA Afrobasket. Cameroon made it to the quarterfinals of the tourney but lost to Nigeria 91-106 in their quarterfinals duel last Sept. 15.

Rookie Leonard Santillan also gave a good account of himself, firing 10 markers on top of seven boards and two assists as the Archers joined arch-rival Ateneo on top with a 3-0 record. The Soaring Falcons slipped to 1-2 in a tie with Far Eastern U at fifth.

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo was not pleased with his team’s second half showing, where the Archers allowed the Falcons to close in at 61-70 from a 33-55 halftime deficit.

“It was a bad win, we started strong but down the stretch we committed a lot of mistakes. Tinitignan ko paano magre-react ‘yung mga locals pagdating ni Ben,” Ayo said.

Earlier, National University dodged the upset axe wielded by University of Santo Tomas, scoring a 94-84 victory for its second win and a share of third.

Six-foot-9 Senegalese import Issa Gaye churned out a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds while Dave Yu chipped in 13 markers on 3-of-7 shooting from deep as NU improved to 2-1 in a tie with University of the Philippines.

Do-it all playmaker Jay-j Alejandro also wound up with an all-around showing of 12 points, 10 boards, and eight assists.

Manuel Mosqueda had 11 points, pulled down five caroms, and issued three dimes for the Bulldogs, who bounced back from a 109-115 loss to defending champion La Salle last Sept. 16 and handed UST its third straight defeat.

“Coming into the game I really felt it’s gonna be a hard one. UST was down 0-2 coming into this game so we knew coach Boy Sablan and the rest of his coaching staff and the rest of his boys, they will come out slugging and play their best,” said NU coach Jamike Jarin, who replaced coach Eric Altamirano last year.

“This is the best game they have played out of the three games,” he added.

The Sampaloc-based dribblers took a 51-50 buffer at the half but were pushed to the wall by the gritty Tigers, who enjoyed a 73-70 lead going into the payoff period.

Both teams figured in a seesaw battle in the fourth canto but the Bulldogs had the last laugh.

Jordan Sta. Ana scored on a tough layup that pulled UST to within 84-87 with 2:03 to go but Yu, rookie Jordan Bartlett, and Gaye combined in decisive 7-0 windup that doused cold water on the Tigers’ last-ditch efforts. – Michael Jugad
No votes yet

Column of the Day

Realities of aging

By PHILIP S. CHUA | March 22,2018
‘We no longer have any excuse not to maximize our health and longevity.’

Opinion of the Day

CenterLaw voids Duterte’s decision

By NESTOR MATA | March 22, 2018
‘The Center for International Law (CenterLaw) voids Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the UNCHR and ICC.’