AL Thornton’s offseason investment is paying dividends right away in his second tour of duty for NLEX in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Road Warriors import bared he dug from his own pocket to be able to go through an expensive stem-cell treatment for his oft-injured right knee before reporting for duty with the Road Warriors.
“Wala (binayad ang NLEX),” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said. “We were surprised that when he came in January, he told us that he already had a stem-cell treatment.”
What the Road Warriors did was to just pay for his therapy ahead of the midseason tournament.
“It's getting stronger,” Thornton said of his knee. “Thanks to George and the medical staff, they’ve been doing a good job in keeping me strong, providing me with good therapy.”
So far, it’s been holding up, evidenced by his 50-point performance in his first game this conference, against Barangay Ginebra on Friday night.
But the NBA veteran stressed it takes three to six months for the healing process to be completed.
“I'll see if it works,” Thornton said. “So far, it's improving little by little. It takes time.”
Still, Fernandez, though, admitted he had doubts on how Thornton would perform against Ginebra.
“We were in doubt how we will play in his first game,” the NLEX coach said. “But it’s really his fighting spirit that let him play like this.”
Fernandez's doubts were immediately eased, however, as Thornton replicated his same scoring effort against the same in the last midseason tournament last March.
“It’s another day at the job,” Thornton insisted. “That's what I'm supposed to do. That's my job.”
“I felt it's definitely important for our team to just get to a good start,” he added of the Road Warriors, who lost four of their first five games in his last tour of duty in the 2015 Commssioner’s Cup.