Ken Tuffin, Taranaki fight for right to advance in NBL playoffs

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 28, 2020 04:26 PM
Tuffin, Taranaki fight for right to advance in NBL playoffs
(Photo courtesy of NZ NBL)

Having lost their last game in the elimination round of the 2020 Sal's New Zealand National Basketball League, Ken Tuffin and Taranaki find themselves in a do-or-die situation.

Still, Far Eastern University's captain is nothing but upbeat that the four-seed Mountainairs will come out on top of five-seed Franklin on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow is another opportunity to bounce back," he said, talking about his first playoff game in the Kiwi league tipping off at 3:30 PM (Philippine time) to be streamed live on Smart Sports Facebook. "I feel like when I play well, the team reflects my energy as well."

Tuffin shone bright in his first nine showings for Taranaki as he normed 10.8 points on 51.5 percent shooting and 5.7 rebounds, but dimmed as of late with averages of 6.5 markers on 32.1 percent shooting and 4.0 boards in the last four games.

That includes his most recent outing where he went scoreless as they bowed to the Bulls, 65-92, last Thursday.

That loss forced them to settle for the four-seed in the playoffs, leading to a knockout bout with the five-seed for the right to move on to the semifinals.

For him, though, this win or go home match opposite the very same squad that had downed them to end the elims is just another golden opportunity for the Mountainairs to send a statement they are for real. "Games are always going to be like that. You have good games, you have bad games," he said.

He then continued, "I'm just looking forward to another opportunity tomorrow to bounce back. Hopefully, we can get it done."

Even better, the 6-foot-4 versatile forward will be much more energized for his first playoff game as it will be steamed live for the benefit kababayans. As he put it, "That's awesome! Hearing about that makes me want to give that extra, knowing that people will be watching and supporting from the Philippines."

Other players to watch apart from Tuffin are Taranaki's Derone Raukuwa, the league's leading scorer, and Marcel Jones, its leading rebounder, as well as Franklin's  Dominique Kelman-Poto and Isaac Davidson.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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