INCOMING Purefoods Star import Daniel Orton is still questionable for his PBA Commissioner's Cup debut against Blackwater on Friday due to a swollen and bruised right hand.
Orton told Spin.ph that he sustained the injury when his hand hit the ring while trying to block a shot in his final game with the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association (BA).
Although he admits he is good to play, it was obvious the wide-bodied American's hand still hurt, as seen when he shook the hands of new acquaintances, including Purefoods president Francisco Alejo, using his left hand.
“I got this two days ago in my last game in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association). I was trying to block, I got caught in the rim and I bent it back,” Orton said. “But it’s nothing serious.”
“When Friday comes, I think I’ll be healed,” he added.
The 6-9, 275-pound Orton even showed his swollen and bruised hand to Spin.ph, insisting that the hand is fully functional and he can play with it if asked to.
“I got full function with it. I can touch a ball with it. No problem. I’d be good. I hurt it in the first quarter and played the rest of the game with it,” he said.
“My teammates in China even said I shot better with it and they were joking around,” Orton added.
Meanwhile coach Tim Cone is non-committal on the status of Orton for the Hotshots' next game.
“We still have to look at it. It depends,” said Cone when asked by Spin.ph.
Here's a video of full interview with Daniel Orton:
The Hotshots have the luxury of resting Orton atleast in their next game as stand-in import Marqus Blakely is set to stay with the team until his contract expires at the end of the month.
The former University of Kentucky Wildcat, however, bared his excitement to play after watching his first PBA game when Purefoods battled Alaska on Tuesday at the Big Dome.
After watching Blakely lead Purefoods to two straight wins, Orton said there’s pressure on him to perform better, but at the same time expressed a desire to sustain the team's fast start.
“He’s (Blakely) a great player, I know he was a best import. There’s gonna be pressure, but I do well with pressure. I can’t wait to perform and play in front of the fans,” he said.
“I love pressure and the more pressure you put on me, the better I play,” added the former Oklahoma City Thunder forward.
Orton in fact vowed to Purefoods big boss Alejo that he will do everything to bring a championship to Purefoods.
“Please, help us win another championship,” said Alejo in his short chat with Orton after Purefoods’ 108-88 win over the Alaska Aces.
The import responded: “Sure boss. I’ll do my best not to fail you!”
“He has that high expectations, of course we had the same expectations. I like his demeanor about it, and I am glad he (Alejo) is looking forward to being a champion again,” he added.
Asked if he can jell immediately with Purefoods, Orton was optimistic.
“I think I can jell well. And I think everything will click pretty fast, I have a high basketball IQ and I can figure out what to do to make this guys play better and what to do to makes us a better team,” he vowed.
“I think a player like me can do well with this system, I’ll try to make my teammates get better. I will try to help them succeed in everything I’ll do,” Orton said.