Daniel Orton, Purefoods’ original choice as import for the Commissioner’s Cup, will be officially measured 4 p.m. on Thursday at the PBA Office.
Tim Cone, the Hotshots’ multi-titled head coach hopes his import makes the height limit of 6-foot-9 to get him ready to play any time.
“First, he has to make the height limit,” Cone said during the post game interview after leading his team to a one-sided 108-88 victory over Philippine Cup runner-up Alaska.
“But we will push through with the plan. The plan from the beginning was to bring in Orton. We will stick with the plan. He’ll get all the chances to play,” said Cone. “At this point, it’s Daniel’s spot to lose. He started practicing and Marqus will stay around. Whoever plays on Friday is not a slam dunk. We’ll see if Daniel can pick up early enough. If not, we may have a chance to play Marqus one more game.”
Orton is listed 6-foot-10 in the United States. The 24-year-old was a first round draft pick in the NBA in 2010 and was selected 29th overall by the Orlando Magic. He has also played for the Oklahoma Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers.
He’s fresh from a stint in China, but his team got eliminated early.
Former Purefoods import Denzel Bowles was also being considered by Cone, but his team in China reached the playoffs, forcing the team to settle for Orton.
“If Daniel can pick up fast, then we’ll suit him up. We’re playing a really big import in Marcus Douthit, so, Daniel is coming in basically at the right time for us,” added Cone.
Blakely said he’ll try to push Orton at practice and probably fast track his learning on the team’s system.
“I have to help him understand our offense and our culture in the team,” added Blakely. “As long as I’m here, I’m gonna try to help him in practice and get him as smooth as he is as much as possible.”