STEVE Thomas may just be doing a pinch-hitting job at GlobalPort, but he is happy to have come away with a win in his first game back in the PBA after seven years.
Now 33 and adding significant weight since he last played in the league in 2008, Thomas showed he still got game after logging 16 rebounds, 12 points, and six assists in 43 minutes during the Batang Pier’s 91-89 upset of defending Governors Cup champion Star on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Feels good man. It (PBA) was like my second home. The atmosphere is still good and the PBA is still the best league in Southeast Asia,” said a beaming Thomas, who s serving as a stand-in import for GlobalPort while the team awaits the arrival of 6-foot-11 Jarrid Famous.
The game marked the import’s first game in the league since helping Air21 finish runner-up behind Barangay Ginebra in the 2008 Fiesta Cup.
Thomas planed in only Monday afternoon to take the place of Patrick O’ Bryant, then practiced with the Batang Pier the moment he arrived at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside the Ateneo campus.
He admitted he was still adjusting to the environment and the fast-paced action.
“Still a little winded. The game is still fast, but it’s good to come back with a win,” he said.
The former Middle Tennessee State standout is coming off successful stint late last year in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) where he helped Hi-Tech Bangkok win the championship. He has spent the last six months playing in small leagues in Thailand as he tries to stay in shape for the 2015-16 ABL season.
Though he’s slated to play only till Sunday when GlobalPort faces San Miguel Beer, the wide-bodied Thomas hopes he could still get an extension when the Batang Pier leave next Monday as they play two elimination-round matches in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I would love to (play) in the atmosphere in Dubai. The best crowd and the best fans are from the Philippines,” he added.