FAR EASTERN University skipper Kenneth Tuffin’s impressive stint so far with Taranaki in the New Zealand National Basketball League might have caught the fancy of the New Zealand national team.
“Whilst the Airs duo of Marcel Jones and Derone Raukawa have been stealing most of the headlines, Tuffin has been posting some impressive numbers of his own. He averages 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game with his free-throw shooting (94%) and 3-point shooting (44%) at an elite level,” the New Zealand NBL website nznbl.basketball posted last Monday.
“His performances may also have caught the eye of a Tall Blacks selector or two.”
The Tall Blacks, behind brothers Corey and Tai Webster, and Isaac Fotu, wound up with a 3-2 card for 19th overall in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
The 6-fooot-4 Tuffin, a Fil-New Zealander, was selected 44th overall by the Mountainairs in the NBL Draft last June 15 and had to get a clearance from the Tamaraws and the UAAP to suit up in the New Zealand semipro league.
Tuffin, 23, intends to return to FEU and play his fifth and final year next season.
With the health risks and uncertainties brought about by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, the UAAP is eyeing to launch its 83rd season early next year.
Taranaki is holding a 7-5 record, good for third, with the lefty Tuffin averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds in 12 games for the Moutainairs.
He was also a member of former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes’ “23 for 23” pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.
“Kenneth Tuffin is not a name many New Zealand basketball followers would have been familiar with a month ago. However, back in the Philippines, where Tuffin has been on a basketball scholarship for the last four years, he is an emerging star,” the website added.
“The 23-year old plays and studies at Far Eastern University, a regular top-four finisher in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
“His performances for the Tamaraws have earned the former St Pat’s Siverstream player selection in the Philippines national team wider training squad.”