Samba mounts with libsmbclient and pthreads under php 5.6.31

I have owncloud 10.0.3 up and running. Everything works well.
The external storage SMB/CIFS works well under php 5.6.31, libsmbclient 0.6.1. My experience tells me that the external storage only works with enabled and compiled as a php extension. I am running php 5.6.31 as php-fpm (fastcgi) under nginx in a 32bit environment. If I try and start php without pthreads extension, the mounts with smb/cifs stop immediately to work (under php 5.6.31).
Since I want to upgrade to php 7.1.11, which I also have compiled and is running perfectly, I wonder if anyone has managed to have samba mounts working with libsmbclient v0.9.0 samba v4.5.0 WITHOUT pthreads, because of course the last pthreads will load only for cli.
I also need to know (probably a noob question) if pthreads is needed because the machine is 32bit.
No detailed docs are available for this particular issue, so any answer help hint would be greatly appreciated.
thanks in advance,