When an MVP Award Decision Brings out the Haters

As reported, Ben Mbala emerged as the runaway winner for this season’s UAAP Most Valuable Player. The 6’7 Cameroonian amassed a total of 96.5 statistical points as he averaged 26 points, 13 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steams and 2.5 shot blocks in 12 elimination round games. Ateneo Blue Eagle Thirdy Ravena is a distance second in the race with 66.5 statistical points.

With this, Ben joins former La Salle bigmen Jun Limpot, Mark Telan and Don Allado as back-to-back recipients of the highest individual award in the league.

To be honest, there was never doubt that he would win the MVP this season. Talent-wise, Ben is simply way above everyone else. His superb performance in last Sunday’s win over Ateneo validates it.

While the award decision is clearly a non-debatable issue and is supported by many, what’s really disturbing is the clamor of some groups especially in social media that foreign players should not be named UAAP MVP. Seriously why complain now? Just because the player that has dominated the league in the last two years is a foreigner, they now whine about it? That’s funny if you tell me.

From my understanding, an MVP should be the BEST player in the league. Whether the player is a local or not is irrelevant. Some went as far as suggesting that there should be a separate award for foreign players or “Best Import”. And what’s the basis for this? Are they admitting that foreign players are better? The truth is, non-Filipino athletes have been playing in the league for many years now and despite this, Filipino players have managed to compete. In fact in the past 10 UAAP seasons, a Filipino player was named MVP 9 times. Even in the NCAA, a league wherein two foreign players is allowed per team, 6 times the league MVP was awarded to a Filipino since 2006. So who says Filipinos can’t compete?

In the NBA, there were several times that a non-American has won the league MVP. Hakeem Olajuwon, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash; were there any complaints? And let’s not be hypocrites here, if there will come a time that a Filipino does well overseas and wins a major individual award, all of you will be proud for sure. The mentality is always different if it were the other way around.

And by the way, they are not imports. They are foreign student athletes who just like their local teammates are enrolled in the university and attend classes. Imports are reinforcement players that play in leagues such as the PBA and can be replaced and sent home immediately if they do not perform well. It’s disappointing though that the term “import” is becoming the generally accpeted term to describe these foreign student athletes. Were past foreign UAAP players like Rob Bornancin, Marko Batricevic, Ferdinand, Zion Laterre and Kirk Long labeled as imports?

The MVP award is open to all regardless of nationality and for the past two seasons, Ben truly deserves to win it. Besides, at the end of the day, the ultimate goal for every player is always to become a champion. Winning will always be above individual accolades and MVPs like Ben knows this.


“It feels nice but that’s not my main objective. My eyes are on the championship,”

Asked if winning MVP yet again was one of his goals heading to this season, Mbala proved his sentiments were no lip service as he voiced out his conviction to winning a second straight championship for La Salle.

“The MVP? Not really. It was and has always been the championship,”

And as for the haters, this what Ben has to say.