Grateful NLEX coach wants to see resurgent Al Thornton get another shot at NBA
Al Thornton has experienced a resurgence with NLEX in the PBA. Jerome Ascano

NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez is torn between his desire to keep Al Thornton for the next PBA Commissioner’s Cup and his hope that he gets another shot at the NBA.

The Road Warriors were eliminated on Monday, but Fernandez has been so impressed by their prolific import’s play performance that he has already offered him his same spot for the next midseason tournament.

“We offered him already a slot for next year,” Fernandez bared after the Road Warriors’ 104-97 loss to Meralco in the quarterfinals.

But Thornton, who highlighted his second tour of duty with a 69-point performance against San Miguel Beer earlier this month, couldn’t commit right away as he revealed he has plenty of offers lined up.

“He just said, ‘Wait, coach I'm looking for something big.’ And I said, ‘Okay, I wish you all the best,’” Fernandez said of Thornton, whose five-year NBA career was marred by injuries.

“I'm hoping that he’s given probably not just a 10-day contract, but another crack in the NBA,” he added. “I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him. I wish him all the best.”

[See End of the road for NLEX]

Still, the NLEX coach said he would retain Thornton for the second conference next year in a heartbeat.

“He did a good job for us,” Fernandez said. “We just fell short. But again, I can only say thank you for what he did for this team.”

“If he has a chance to be back, he would be our first choice, no question about it.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos