De La Salle University's Ben Mbala | File Photo

Mbala hails UP for upset win, vows to 'work harder' to bounce back
Denison Rey A. Dalupang ( - September 24, 2017 - 1:00pm
MANILA, Philippines — Ben Mbala shot four straight triples in the opening salvo. Then UP came back at him, four times the firepower.

And then the Fighting Maroons held on to the momentum. When the final buzzer rang, the Green Archers looked like any other UAAP team — capable of losing — far from the seemingly unbeatable vibe they had last season.

“Winning and losing is part of life,” the reigning league Most Valuable Player said. “It’s part of being an athlete and the game of basketball. Unluckily, we were on the other side.”

“We lost and UP really had a good game. We had to give it to them,” he added.

Ayo not surprised with Maroons' hot shooting vs Archers

Mbala said upon his return from the Afrobasket in Tunisia that he had been working on his long-range shots even prior the FIBA tourney. After the game, the Cameroonian said UP being able to clamp down on him and his teammates boiled down on in-game tweaks.

“They were able to adjust. They were able to see that I could hit the threes. They were really sticking on me and not giving me space. They made good adjustments on defense and that’s what we were unable to do,” he said.

And he wouldn’t want to discredit the Fighting Maroons. Coming from a team that won 13 of their 14 outings last seasons in the elimination phase, Ben has seen many games — from blowouts to grind-out wins.

“You know, they played a really good one-on-one game. Every time they had a mismatch on the isolation play, they were able to convert it to a 3-point shot. That’s how they were able to kill us during the game,” he offered.

To close, the big man, who now has proven that he has evolved his game, said that the loss should only trigger one thing.

“What I can tell you is that we’ll go back to the gym and work harder. I gotta keep that in mind that it doesn’t feel good to lose but you have to look at the bright side of losing. It’s gonna make us work harder and want it more than anybody else,”  he said.


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