“Dedicating a statue for Ben Mbala has been a plan ever since his graduation from the school. We are confident that both he and the Lasallian community will appreciate this move,” DLSU President Brother Raymundo Suplido announced in a recent statement. After thorough deliberation and consultation with the administration and students of La Salle, the administration has decided to honor the former Green Archer, replacing the Green Archer statue located at the Central Plaza. It is no surprise that the members of the administration, led by University Chancellor Br. Bernie Oca FSC, came up with the creative idea as they themselves are huge fans of Mbala’s play. The statue will show La Salle’s deep gratitude to Mbala who played his heart out for the Green-and-White.
Upon hearing about his soon-to-be commemorative figure, Mbala felt elated and humbled. He shared, “It just feels amazing, you know? Working extra hard for the team was really just to bring pride and glory for DLSU, but I’m really glad to know that they appreciate everything I’ve done.” Mbala added, “It’s not everyday that you see a collegiate player get an honor like that. I’m truly humbled by this news.” Although the Cameroonian big man will be playing internationally, he promised to be present by the time his statue is unveiled.
Set on stone
Being a two-time UAAP MVP who suited up for the Green Archers for two years, Mbala brought the UAAP Season 78 title to Taft in an incredible fashion. Known for his grit-and-grind type of game, the Lasallian Brothers believe it’s best to portray this in his full-body icon. “We are thinking to put in his so-called signature pose wherein he flexes his muscles every time he scores a strong point,” Suplido elaborated. The image of Mbala set in a statue will serve not only as reminder of his glorious years in DLSU but also as a message to the Lasallians to be tough whenever and wherever. One student who refused to be named expressed, “I believe that that certain pose of his fits well. It can serve as an inspiration and motivation to us [students].”
Just like NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan who were given their statues in front of arenas, Mbala gets to see himself as a tall, bronze figure standing on a rock. The statue is planned to face the position of the Enrique Razon Sports Center where the 6-foot-8 versatile player honed his skills for the betterment of the team. After everything was said and done, Mbala emphasized that he could not have done these without the passionate help and support of his coaches and teammates, family, and the Lasallian community. Mbala shared his thoughts on the dedication piece with a smile, “I look forward to seeing it. I know it’s gonna have a cool design. I hope they do not botch it like Ronaldo’s.”
Bird’s eye view
It is inevitable that Ben Mbala’s impact would remain to be immaculate for the years to come. The inauguration of the statue has been in the public eye for some time and has brought in positive reactions from key persons around the university. University Student Government President Gabbie Perez hailed the statue as one of the better projects of the administration this school year. “Sa totoo lang, nakakapagod din yung mga negative issues. Pero kahit ang dami naming projects University-wide, it is nice to see something light and positive once in a while,” Perez said.
(Honestly, the negative issues are exhausting. But even if we have a lot of projects University-wide, it is nice to see something positive once in a while,)
Slated King Archer and longtime friend Aljun Melecio has been pondering about the announcement for quite some time. “Umiyak ako. Sobrang deserving naman talaga kasi. He fought for us, and I will honor him forever along with the Green-and-White”.
(I cried. He really deserves it. He fought for us, and I will honor him forever along with the Green-and-White)