PUREFOODS Star’s much-awaited clash with Alaska on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum will be Marqus Blakely’s farewell game for the Hotshots in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
According to Purefoods governor Rene Pardo, the ballclub's first import choice Daniel Orton will be arriving on Tuesday afternoon and will head straight to watch the Hotshots’ game against the Aces at the Big Dome.
Orton is slated to take over from Blakely soon after.
“Baka mga fourth quarter ng game namin maabutan pa ni Daniel, kasi sa China lang naman siya manggagaling. So mga 5 p.m. siya darating at susunduin ni (team manager) Alvin (Patrimonio),” Pardo told Spin.ph on Monday.
Pardo said the game should give Orton an idea on the brand of basketball in Asia's first professional cage league, just before he joins the team’s practice this Wednesday.
“Wala naman kasing jetlag iyan dahil sa China lang naman siya galing. At least may malaki na kami at malakas sa ilalim,” added the amiable Hotshots team executive.
Pardo, however, said Blakely will still stay in Manila until the end of his one-month contract as Purefoods' stand-in import. The energetic 6-foot-4 import’s contract expires on February 15.
“Papakiramdaman lang namin yung isa (Orton), tutal hanggang February 15 pa naman ang kontrata ni Marqus so di namin siya kaagad pauuwiin,” he said.
Orton, who is expected to make the 6-9 height restriction for imports, is coming off a stint with the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 15.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 blocks.
The 24-year-old big man out of Kentucky was selected 29th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played a total of 51 games in the NBA, owning averages of 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds while playing for the Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers.