La Salle’s Ben Mbala shoots against Ateneo’s Rafael Verano during their UAAP game Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Miguel De Guzman

2-time MVP Mbala turns Eagles blue
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — La Salle’s Ben Mbala is joining the two-time MVP club after topping the race for the premier individual award of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.

Mbala compiled 96.5833 statistical points in 12 games for the No. 2 Green Archers to lock in his second consecutive MVP plum.

The Cameroonian logged averages of 21 points (No. 1 in the league), 13.1 rebounds (No. 2), 2.7 blocks (No. 2), 1.3 steal (No. 6) to cement his status as the top individual performer of the season.

Mbala’s season-long brilliance was in full display last Sunday, when he led the Archers to a 79-76 win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles with 28 markers laced with 19 rebounds – the second highest this year – plus six steals and six blocks, both matching the season-best marks.

That win also foiled Ateneo’s bid to sweep the double round elims.

Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena was a distant second with 66.5000 SPs, according to the league’s statistical provider Imperium Technology.

National U’s Jayjay Alejandro finished third with 63.8571 SPs while University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol, owner of a 49-point performance in the first round, wound up fourth with 63.4286 SPs.

A trio of imports followed Pasaol in Adamson’s Papi Sarr (63.1538), NU’s Issa Gaye (57.5714) and Santo Tomas’ Steve Akomo (56.7692).

La Salle’s Ricci Rivero took eighth position with his 56.2857 but he’s set to join teammate Mbala, Ravena, Alejandro and Pasaol in the Mythical 5.

The other two-time league MVPs were Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, Arwind Santos, Rich Alvarez, Don Allado, Enrico Villanueva, Mark Telan, Dennis Espino and Jun Reyes while Allan Caidic and Jun Limpot won three MVP plums each.

In the women’s division, Perlas Pilipinas mainstay Jack Animam of unbeaten NU secured the MVP trophy after tallying 77.2857 SPs.

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