Now in his third year of duty for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, swingman Kenneth Tuffin is starting to settle down.
During his first two years, the 6-foot-4 Filipino-Kiwi showed flashes of his potential. But he could not string together consistent performances.
“Of course, the physicality at first, that was a big eye opener.
“The pace of the game. And just the heart that people play out here, it’s like a different level so I had to match that, and obviously I have to give a little bit more,” recalled Tuffin, who traces his roots in La Union.
But this season with Ron Dennison out, Tuffin has become one of the go-to defensive specialists of the Tamaraws. Night in and night out, he has guarded some of the league’s best.
Though he has been consistent with his role of being FEU’s 3-and-D specialist, it has been an up-and-down season for the Tamaraws. The once-league leaders have battled injuries and off-court issues, and are now fighting for a Final Four slot.
Tuffin stepped up against the University of the East Red Warriors on Sunday afternoon in Antipolo City, tallying a career-high 17 points spiked by five triples while picking up a highlight block late in the game. But he takes no credit, saying that the offense came because of the defense.
“Just credit to my teammates getting me open I mean I’ve always been there the whole season,” the Gilas Cadet shared.
“I pride myself of trying to be consistent defensively and my offense will follow from there so it’s really credit to my teammates.”
Needing every win now, Tuffin vows to be more consistent for the late grind.
“I think we just need to stay consistent sabi ni coach Olsen [Racela] na if we stay consistent in trainings, if we do the right things, everything else will follow,” he added.
“It’s just a process. Trust the process. If we remain consistent with our training, same energy levels, we should be okay moving forward.”