After Davao 'incident,' Tuffin actually learned a lot from Montalbo

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 25, 2020 01:30 PM
After Davao 'incident,' Tuffin learned a lot from Montalbo
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Ken Tuffin is cool, calm, and collected - and that is exactly why he is, at present, Far Eastern University's team captain.

Four years ago, however, he went out of character and was not cool, calm, and collected,

In the 2017 Kadayawan Cup in Davao, the Tamaraws' matchup with De La Salle University ended in a double forfeiture as several players got to know one another much, much better.

It had been reported that that Green Archers Aljun Melecio, Kib Montalbo, Prince Rivero, and Ricci Rivero as well as FEU's Ron Dennison, RJ Ramirez, and Arvin Tolentino were all involved in the incident in the third quarter.

As it turns out, though, Tuffin had something to do with how it all began.

"Alam mo nag-start ng away? Yung dalawang mabait sa La Salle at FEU," green and white playmaker Andrei Caracut shared in sportswriter Cedelf Tupas' Crossover podcast last Friday.

He then continued, "Nung nagkukwento FEU, sinasabi nilang isa sa pinakamabait si Tuffin. Sa La Salle naman, isa sa pinakamabait si Kib so weird na dun nagsimula yung away."

Funnily enough, that was the first and only time both Montalbo and Tuffin went overboard in-game. "That was my first time to be in an in-game fight," the latter said.

Apparently, for the Tamaraws, that was more than just a preseason and out of town game. As their Filipino-Kiwi recalled, "I think, we hadn't beaten La Salle in 2016 and then that year in Filoil so there was very much a point to be proven from our end that we could compete with the champs and potentially beat them."

He then continued, "I remember it very clearly that we were in fact winning by that point that that game. I remember it was a physical game and I was running down the middle of the floor and ran into Kib and that's how it all kind of started."

After the first few skirmishes, however, Tuffin walked away from all the action. "Actually, I was already holding Ricci back then, I think, I got shoved and got punched on my left cheek. I couldn't hear anything out of my left ear so I walked away, thinking something might be seriously wrong," he shared.

He then continued, "Thankfully, it was all okay."

Years later, the 6-foot-4 versatile wing said that he had nothing but respect for Montalbo's game - even after both of them went out of character in the Davao "incident." "I believe there's definitely mutual respect there. I've told Kib that I like him and the way he plays the game," he said.

He then continued, "I've actually learned a lot from him especially in terms of leadership. When La Salle beat us in the first round of his final year, I think he was the driving force in that - just the desire to win from him reflected onto his teammates."

In the end, just like the former Green Archers skipper, Tuffin chalked up that infamous incident to the two teams being fierce foes. "FEU and La Salle will always be a rivalry. Obviously, not as big as Ateneo-La Salle, but a rivalry nonetheless," the latter said.

He then continued, "When you have certain individuals who are competitive, that, in turn, makes your team competitive and in FEU, there's no shortage of that. We will always compete and we will not back down."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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