BEN Mbala bullied everyone on his path as La Salle overpowered University of the Philippines, 89-71, to seize the early lead in the UAAP men’s basketball last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons big men were helpless in controlling Mbala, who had 30 points, including two crowd-pleasing dunks in the payoff period, pulled down 14 rebounds and swatted away two attempts that stamped the Green Archers dominance.
Following up last Wednesday’s hard-fought 83-78 win over defending champion Far Eastern University, La Salle improved to 2-0 under new coach Aldin Ayo.
Earlier, Renzo Subido fired a career-high 26 as University of Santo Tomas overcame a scoreboard malfunction and a late University of the East uprising to escape with an 88-87 squeaker.
The Growling Tigers were poised for the victory after Jamil Sheriff drilled in a jumper for an 86-77 lead at the 3:39 mark.
Then the Big Dome scoreboard conked out which caused a 10-minute delay, allowing the Red Warriors to regroup and move to within a point, 85-86, with 42.2 seconds remaining.
UE tried to turn things around late in the game but could not convert, as free throws by Marvin Lee and Regie Basibas in the dwindling seconds allowed UST to give new coach Boy Sablan his first win.
The Tigers, runners-up in three of the last four years, improved to 1-1 in the young season.
“Kahit nagka-problema noong huli, naka-survive ang UST,” said Sablan after his troops rebounded from a season-opening 69-73 defeat to Ateneo.
Given the time to shine with the departure of guard Ed Daquioag, Subido, on his third year, wants to give back the trust given to him by Sablan.
“Na-rattle kami noong una pero we put our trust in one another. We trusted our system and we did our job. We were just aggressive,” said Subido, who scored nine of the Tigers’ 30 third quarter points to grab the upper hand.
Aside from Subido, whose back-to-back triples gave UST its biggest lead at 78-66 early in the payoff period, the other guards shone, as Sheriff added 15 points while Lee chipped in 14 points.
UST (88) -- Subido 26, Sheriff 15, Lee 14, Vigil 10, Macasaet 8, Basibas 4, Faundo 4, Lao 3, Bonleon 2, De Guzman 2, Afoakwah 0, Huang 0.
UE (87) -- Abanto 15, Batiller 15, Olayon 14, Palma 10, Pasaol 8, Bartolome 6, De Leon 4, Charcos 4, Manalang 4, Varilla 3, Armenion 2, Gagate 2, Derige 0, Larupay 0, Penuela 0.
Quarterscores: 16-24, 39-47, 69-64, 88-87.
DLSU (89) -- Mbala 30, Tratter 12, Teng 12, Go 11, Montalbo 9, Torres 8, Caracut 3, Sargent 2, R. Rivero 2, Baltazar 0, Melecio 0, P. Rivero 0, Dyke 0, Paraiso 0.
UP (71) -- Desiderio 21, Manuel 13, Harris 8, Dario 8, Vito 5, Webb 4, Lim 4, Romero 2, Gomez de Liano 2, Jaboneta 2, Lao 2, Asilum 0, Prado 0, Longa 0.
Quarterscores: 31-19, 43-34, 76-52, 89-71.