MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University star Ben Mbala commended University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol for his superb game on Wednesday, but made it clear that such a scoring effort could not happen again to the defending UAAP champions.
Pasaol earned a place in the league’s history books when he torched the Green Archers for a career-high 49 points in the Red Warriors 106-100 loss in the Season 83 tournament.
He engaged in an entertaining duel with Mbala, who also scored a career-high 39 points on top of 15 rebounds and two blocks. In the middle of the fourth quarter, the two were seen hugging briefly as they recognized each other’s effort.
Alvin Pasaol = 49 PTS
Ben Mbala = 39 PTS
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 4, 2017
“I told him to keep working. He did a great job,” said Mbala. “You know, when you see someone doing a great job, you have to be able to acknowledge it, and don’t be stingy or greedy.”
“The guy played well, and I have to give it to him,” he added. “It’s the game of basketball so far, and we are out here to have fun… I had to congratulate him for his career-high, and I told him to keep working.”
Mbala noted that Pasaol was simply “in the zone.” The UE forward was highly efficient, making 20 of his 30 shots, and was virtually unstoppable going to the basket as he was 15-of-18 on two-point field goals.
“He played very well, and he was able to lead his team,” Mbala conceded.
Yet the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player also made it clear that the Green Archers cannot afford to let another player achieve such a feat against them.
“I feel like we didn’t do a good job of stopping him,” said Mbala. “Knowing that La Salle is a defensive-minded team, we cannot let one player alone drop 50 points on us.”
“So we’ve got to do a better job next time that we’re playing a guy who’s in the zone. We’ve got to be able to stop him and take him out of his comfort zone,” he added.
It was not the only aspect of the game that Mbala feels La Salle can improve on. He pointed out that the Red Warriors were able to cut the lead to six points with still 30 seconds left, after he exited the game with some three minutes to play.
“We played well for 36 minutes, then we just relaxed for the last four minutes,” Mbala said. “We have to be able to close out games, even if we got a big lead.”
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