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PBA: Thornton returns for NLEX

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More than his desire for a PBA encore, it was the work ethic of import Al Thornton that made NLEX management bring back the former NBA stalwart.

Thornton arrived yesterday from the United States, nearly ten months after his stint was cut short by Meralco which ousted NLEX in the playoffs despite the twice-to-beat edge the Road Warriors had against the Bolts.

Thornton, 32, played 13 games for NLEX in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup where he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He led the Road Warriors to fourth place after the elimination round of that conference which, to date, is the best finish of the MNTC franchise.

“After our loss to Meralco he approached me and told me if ever we sign him up again, he will prove his worth and show us who the real Al Thorton is,” said head coach Boyet Fernandez

Fernandez meantime assures the supposed knee injury Thornton suffered before his first stint was in the league just a minor issue the team had to deal with last season.

“Nag-struggle siya sa first four games namin not because of the injury per se but because of the adjustments he needed to do nung pinalitan yung knee brace niya,” said Fernandez.

Thornton initially pleaded his case but was eventually convinced by Fernandez to use a different brace.

“I told him when I was playing nagkaroon din ako ng knee injury but instead of wearing metal brace, yung simple lang ginamit ko and it helped me to speed up yung strengthening ng tuhod ko,” said Fernandez.”

Meantime team manager Ronald Dulatre liked what he saw when he welcomed Thornton yesterday from the airport.

“He’s very professional. We will have five weeks to get him in great shape. We will be in Baguio next week for our training and bonding sessions,” said Dulatre.

The PBA Commissioner’s Cup is set to open on February 10. (Dennis Principe)