Reigning UAAP MVP Mbala to miss first few games of La Salle in Season 80

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers will start their title-retention bid in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) without the defending men's seniors basketball Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ben Mbala.

Mbala will compete for his home country Cameroon in the upcoming FIBA Afrobasket 2017 in Tunisia.

One step at the time. Road to Afrobasket . #237represent .

A post shared by Ben Mbala (@benmbala) on

 

DLSU Office of Sports Development Executive Director Emmanuel Calanog expects the 6-foot-7 Mbala to be back on their third match.

"According to the schedule of Afrobasket 2017, the tournament will run from September 6 to 17, so he should be back in time for our third game," Calanog said.

The Green Archers will open their UAAP Season 80 campaign on Sunday against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Their second and third assignments are the National University Bulldogs on Septemebr 16 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and the Adamson Soaring Falcons on September 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

READ: La Salle still the team to beat in Season 80, but other squads catching up

Asked if it was difficult for La Salle to allow Mbala to play for his country, Calanog said that representing the home nation will always prevail.

"All teams that will lose one of their key players will always find it difficult to decide on things like this, but in the end it's for his country just like our own local players," he said.

 

Calanog said that the whole Lasallian community is proud of the achievements Mbala has made which resulted to the call-up from the Cameroon basketball officials.

"Everybody's proud of him for the amount of improvement that he has been able to make the past few years, which was good enough for the Cameroon basketball federation to actually request for him to join them for Afrobasket 2017," he said.

READ: La Salle's Montalbo 'hungry' to win back-to-back UAAP titles

In his MVP stint last year, Mbala averaged 20.6 points and 16 rebounds in the regular season.