After deciding to forego his final season with Far Eastern University (FEU), Tamaraws’ former team captain Ken Tuffin is making his debut for his hometown Wellington in the 2021 Sal’s New Zealand-National Basketball League.
Tuffin, who played for the Taranaki Mountainairs last season, will be suiting up for the Saints against the Otaga Nuggets on Saturday.
According to Tuffin, 23, it was hard for him to resist the opportunity to play for his hometown and under Saints assistant coach Kenny McFadden.
"It's always been a dream to play for my hometown Wellington," said the 6-foot-4 swingman Tuffin, who averaged 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in Taranaki's fourth place finish last year.
"Our assistant Coach Kenny was the one who introduced me to the game. Furthermore, Coach Kenny was there in the camp when FEU first came over to scout and recruit me in 2015.”
In Wellington, Tuffin will get to play alongside former De La Salle University foreign student-athlete in Taane Samuel and Tall Blacks standout Dion Prewster.
The Saints will also get help from imports 7-foot-2 Romaro Gill and former G-League standout Kerwin Roach, both G League vets.
"I know my role playing alongside elite one-on-one players like our imports and out captain Dion Prewster. I will always be there to shoot and play D, just picking my spots to shine," Tuffin said.
"The Saints are a dominant team. And anything less than a title is considered a disappointment. My goal is to be a star in my role for the champions."
Wellington was the champion in the 2019 season of the league but skipped the shortened 2020 season.
Tuffin’s debut match will be broadcasted by telecommunication giant Smart.
Last December, Tuffin revealed he wasis foregoing his last playing year with FEU to instead focus on his stint in New Zealand.
This developed after the UAAP cancelled Season 83 in consideration of the health and safety of its student-athletes amid the pandemic.
Tuffin announced his decision on Instagram, acknowledging that it was a difficult move but he "felt the need to do what's best for me and have some certainty about what I'm doing right now."