Mbala: La Salle defense not as good as last year
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
With De La Salle’s recent slippage in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, one may be forgiven that he forgot how dominant the Green Archers back in Season 79.
Well, Ben Mbala is not the one to forget and he knows this version of the Green Archers is far different from the unit that won the title a year ago.
“I say defense, we’re not the defensive-minded team we used to be last year and that’s something we need to change,” said Mbala Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena after La Salle lost to arch rival Ateneo, 76-75.
La Salle’s loss to Ateneo saw it slip to 5-2, a respectable record but a far cry considering how powerful the Green Archers were last year.
The Green Archers waylaid opponents in the first round of Season 79 holding them down to an average of 73 points a game while scoring 88.4 to end up with a 7-0 record.
Those numbers, however, are not even close from what La Salle put up in the first seven games this season.
The defending champions may be scoring more this year, averaging 96.9 points a game, but they also allow their opponents to score way more compared to last season as their points allowed skyrocketed to 90.3 points per outing.
La Salle outscored opponents by 18.4 points a game in the first round of Season 79 but Season 80 saw the Green Archers take wins by an average of just 6.6 points.
Mbala hopes the Archers can change their fortunes in the second half of the tournament, a stage where the Final Four picture starts to take shape.
“It’s only the first round, we still have a lot of time to work on our game, our team chemistry especially on defense,” said Mbala, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds against the Blue Eagles. “I’m sure coach (Aldin Ayo) and all of us players will be able to work on that.”