Ken Tuffin, Wellington Saints reclaim NBL title

Published July 23, 2021, 11:36 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Wellington Saints

Ken Tuffin became a champion in New Zealand’s National Basketball League after the Wellington Saints edged Hawke’s Bay Hawks, 77-75, in a thrilling title game Friday, July 23 at the Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua City.

The Fil-Kiwi former Far Eastern University standout had five points and four rebounds in 29 minutes in the Grand Final which saw the Saints reclaim the championship after skipping last year’s shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A key factor for Wellington was former La Salle foreign student athlete Taane Samuel, who topscored with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting.

Tuffin won a crown on his second season since opting to forego his UAAP eligibility with FEU to play pro ball in New Zealand.

Joining the team from the Taranaki Mountainairs, Tuffin played all 20 games and averaged 8.5 points on 50-percent shooting with 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Wellington topped the regular season with a 16-2 record, earning top seed in the Final Four. The Saints beat the Auckland Huskies in the semis.