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Olsen expects a better, tougher Tuffin after NBL stint







Far Eastern University coach Olsen Racela said the stint of forward Kenneth Tuffin in New Zealand’s National Basketball League will be beneficial for the Tamaraws’ campaign in the 83rd UAAP season which could start in early-2021.

FEU head coach Olsen Racela (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)


Tuffin is off to a good start Down Under with averages of 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his first two games with NBL side Taranaki Mountain Airs, and Racela sees the Fil-Kiwi gain improvements once he returns to FEU.

“KT’s stint in the NZNBL will definitely help his confidence and growth as a basketball player,” Racela said. “I expect him to become more versatile now that he’s up against bigger and better athletes. If he improves, it will definitely help our team since he is a major part of our program.”

The 23-year-old was selected by the Mountain Airs as the 44th overall pick of the NZNBL Draft, but remains eligible to play his fifth and final UAAP season with the Tamaraws since he is considered an amateur without compensation.

Racela saw Tuffin’s debut last June 24 when he posted 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in Taranaki’s 107-95 win over the Franklin Bulls.

The FEU mentor said that Tuffin seemed to have accustomed to taking the role of shooting guard and small forward compared to his role as a stretch four, or a power forward who plays more on the perimeter.

For Racela, playing guard should bode well for Tuffin in terms of his versatility.

“I watched his first game. He has been playing the two (shooting guard) or three (small forward) spot in (New Zealand), a position he didn’t play for us last year. He was our stretch four last season so playing a different position will definitely help his versatility,” said Racela.

Tuffin and the Airs resume their NBL campaign on Tuesday against the Auckland Huskies.