NLEX brings back import Thornton; Dozier, Bowles also returning | Inquirer Sports
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NLEX brings back import Thornton; Dozier, Bowles also returning

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 12:54 AM January 14, 2016
ALASKA’S Calvin Abueva tries to be an effective roadblock to NLEX’s Al Thornton. PBA IMAGE

ALASKA’S Calvin Abueva tries to be an effective roadblock to NLEX’s Al Thornton. PBA IMAGE

Al Thornton, the former NBA hotshot who showed how great he once was while playing for NLEX last season, will have a second tour of duty when he banners the Road Warriors yet again in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opening in the first week of next month.

Thornton, who earned All-Rookie Team inclusion with Kevin Durant in 2008 while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, planed in a couple of days ago to whip himself into shape and hopefully take the Road Warriors deeper in the playoffs this time.

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Taken 14th overall by the Clippers in the 2007 Draft where Greg Oden was selected first and Durant second overall, Thornton would go on to play a total of four seasons in the NBA before taking his act overseas.

He has also seen action in the China and Puerto Rico leagues before the Road Warriors took a gamble on him despite his brittle knees.

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Thornton averaged just under 31 points in 13 games for the Road Warriors, highlighting his stint with a 50-point explosion against Barangay Ginebra.

He will be one of several returnees in the coming conference, with former Best Import winners Rob Dozier coming back for Alaska and Denzel Bowles for Star also having been signed up.

Othyus Jeffers, another legitimate NBA vet, has also agreed to suit up for the Gin Kings, who signed the 6-foot-5 forward practically for the next two conferences.

Ginebra is obviously looking for a take-charge offensive guy and not a dominant inside presence since it already has the 7-foot Greg Slaughter and 6-foor-9 Japeth Aguilar to man the slot.

The Commissioner’s Cup allows all teams, except Mahindra, to sign up imports not exceeding 6-feet, 9-inches in height, with the Enforcers, for having failed to make it past the eliminations of the ongoing Philippine Cup, eligible for an import of unlimited height.

Meanwhile, the best-of-seven Finals of the season-opening conference will start on Sunday at the earliest, with Alaska, after winning its last four games over GobalPort, awaiting a championship playoff foe.

Should either San Miguel Beer, the defending champion, or Rain or Shine triumph after Game 6 on Friday, the Finals will start two days after.

If the series of the Beermen and the Elasto Painters, which is tied at 2-2 at presstime, drag on to a deciding Game 7, the first game of the championship series will be played on Tuesday.

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