MANILA, Philippines -- Kenneth Tuffin is optimistic that Far Eastern University (FEU) can take another step forward in UAAP Season 83, thanks to the improvement of their young players.
The Tamaraws made a seventh straight Final 4 appearance in Season 82, the longest active streak in the UAAP. Unfortunately for FEU, they fell at the first hurdle, bowing to fourth-seeded University of Santo Tomas in the first phase of the step-ladder semifinals.
Tuffin, their team captain, hopes they can improve upon that finish when the UAAP starts in early 2021.
"We really have a good opportunity," Tuffin said during a recent appearance on "The Prospects" podcast.
"I think we have a solid group of guys, younger guys getting more mature," he said. "They are in their second and third year now, they have more experience."
In Season 82, it was sophomore guard LJ Gonzales who led the Tamaraws in scoring with 10.8 points per game on top of 7.13 rebounds and 4.33 assists in 25 minutes per contest. Rookie point guard Royce Alforque also had his turn in the spotlight.
The Tams are expected to add prolific prospect RJ Abarrientos to the squad next season. The nephew of FEU legend and Philippine basketball icon Johnny Abarrientos, RJ is a proven scorer who has already represented the country in international 3x3 events.
With Nigerian center Emmanuel Ojoula manning the paint for them, Tuffin is confident of their chances.
"Hopefully, we get to training, and let's see what we can do," said Tuffin. "I'm really hopeful for this season."
Tuffin himself is working on his game while playing for the Taranaki Mountain Airs in New Zealand's National Basketball League. On Tuesday evening, he scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting in a 109-93 loss to the Auckland Huskies.
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