THIS early, Asi Taulava is already giving NLEX import Al Thornton one piece of advice as far as playing in the PBA is concerned.
Taulava said first order of the day for the NBA veteran is for him to get used to the league’s physical brand of play.
“I’ll try to make him understand how they play basketball in the PBA because the NBA and PBA play two different styles of basketball. The NBA is pretty boy basketball, but the PBA is UFC down low,” said Taulava with a laugh after spending his first day in practice with the 31-year-old Thornton.
He likewise said Thornton has to quickly adjust on the way officiating is done in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“(I’ll tell Thornton) you got to get ready for everything. All the rugged things that’s going on underneath. When the refs call six fouls, there’s other six fouls they don’t see, so he’s gotta get used to that basketball and I just let him know,” the 42-year-old center, who averaged 16.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in the Philippine Cup.
But more importantly, Taulava sees the former Florida State alumnus as one of the key pieces to the Road Warriors’ bid to redeem themselves in the coming Commissioner’s Cup.
“He’s gonna be a very good additional help, another key player coming in. So we’ll try to see if we can get the job done this conference because we fell short a few games, maybe three or four of them that could have gone either way in the end of the game,” explained the one-time league Most Valuable Player.
At the same time, Taulava said the Road Warriors should also lend an ear every time Thornton speaks in practice, aware that they can learn a thing or two from the former Los Angeles Clippers forward, who’ll be coming in to the league as one of the imports with glowing credentials.
“He’s coming in with big time experience since he’s been in the NBA for a while, but it’s just learning from him, pick and choose. When he’s talking, we just listen, but I don’t want us to get caught up and be star struck because he made it to the NBA,” he added.