Ken Tuffin would do well for any PBA team, says former Kiwi teammate
MANILA, Philippines-A member of New Zealand’s Fiba World Cup squad is confident that a former teammate will do well once he enters the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“I wish him all the best in the draft and I know he will smash it with whatever team he ends up with,” the Tall Blacks’ Tohi Smith-Milner said of Kenneth Tuffin, the former Far Eastern University standout who is set to enter the Draft slated Sept. 17.
Tuffin is among the notable players expected to be picked early in the proceedings that will take place at Market! Market! in Taguig City.
The 26-year-old small forward spent the last three years in New Zealand, opting to play in the country’s National Basketball League instead of waiting out for the UAAP to resume due to strict restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a season playing for the Taranaki Mountainairs, Tuffin signed with the Wellington Saints and was part of the team alongside Smith-Milner that won the 2021 NBL title.
He also played the next two seasons with the Saints, before deciding to take his act back in the Philippines and apply for the PBA Draft.
“He’s an amazing guy and I get along with him pretty well,” said Smith-Milner. “He was the first guy who messaged me when we arrived, asking how I was doing, how I was adjusting.”
Tuffin played four seasons with FEU from 2016 to 2019 and was actually part of the “23 for 23” program instituted by coach Chot Reyes that included a list of players from the collegiate and others outside of the PBA.
But Tuffin came close to actually donning the Tall Blacks jersey after being enlisted in the New Zealand pool for the 2020 Olympic qualification and 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“The guy can shoot the ball, plays defense and is just an all-around great guy,” said Smith-Miller.