Ben Mbala, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player, won’t be with La Salle when the Green Archers open their title defense in UAAP Season 80.
Mbala is currently with the Cameroon national team for the 2017 Fiba Afrobasket.
La Salle athletic director Emmanuel Calanog explained that the Cameroonian Basketball Federation personally requested the athletic big man to be a part of its roster for the continental championship from September 8 to 16.
“He was requested by his national team to play for them,” he said, sharing that Mbala has left for his native country two weeks ago.
Cameroon, the 52nd ranked nation in the world, is slotted in Group C, together with Tunisia, Guinea, and Rwanda, as it seeks to improve its ninth place finish back in 2015.
Mbala will miss the La Salle’s game against Far Eastern University on Sunday and National University on Sept. 18 if Cameroon makes it to the finals.
“Looking back at former players, even the good foreign players of San Beda, I don’t think they had the privilege to play for their national teams,” Calanog said.
“We’re happy that Ben has developed into a player which their country feels can help them in their international competitions. Just like our local players, we hope that because of the UAAP, they are able to develop well enough for them to play for the country.”
Mbala averaged 20.6 points, 16.0 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 assists last season to lead the Green Archers’ championship run.
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