NLEX resists import change, keen to give misfiring Al Thornton chance to prove himself
Al Thornton's head is not yet on the chopping block despite NLEX's 0-3 start to the PBA Commissioner's Cup, says coach Boyet Fernandez. Jerome Ascano

NLEX isn’t inclined to replace import Al Thorton notwithstanding a fumbling start to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Coach Boyet Fernandez felt it would be unfair to put the blame on the former Los Angeles Clippers stalwart for the team’s winless run three games into its campaign in the midseason tournment.

“We’re basically trying to improve on our execution kasi over our first three games, we’re just averaging 11 assists, which means di namin namu-move ang bola ng maayos,” Fernandez told Spin.ph on Saturday.

The soft-spoken mentor also said the issue surrounding the knee brace of Thornton has actually bothered the 31-year-old import.

Thornton, still undergoing therapy on his knee, had an anemic 11-point output in the Road Warriors’ 87-62 loss at the hands of defending champion Purefoods last Wednesday, going 3-of-14 from the floor.

[See Thornton admits extra padding on knee brace made him uncomfortable]

Fernandez said he could relate with the current situation of the NBA veteran, considering that he also suffered an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury just like Thorton.  

“Medyo nagulo lang 'yung isip niya nung sinabi ngang kulang pa ang padding sa tuhod niya (during the game against Purefoods) dahil nga sa knee brace. But then, we’re doing therapy sa tuhod niya ngayon,” he said.

“Naiintindihan naman ng management ang kalagayan niya and we’re giving him the chance to prove himself,” added the NLEX mentor, who is coming off a successful collegiate coaching career with San Beda last year.

Fernandez disclosed the team held a meeting after the Road Warriors’ 25-point loss to the Hotshots.

“We lacked the energy to match Purefoods kaya nga we still have a lot of things to do to improve,” explained the NLEX mentor.

“But after addressing the losing skid sa mga players, we believe that’s a good start for us in a way so we can hopefully start turning things around,” he added.

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NLEX tries to break out of its winless start this conference next Tuesday when the Road Warriors collide with expansion franchise Blackwater Elite.

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