PUREFOODS Star’s new import Daniel Orton gave credit to stand-in reinforcement Marqus Blakely for helping him in the transition to the PBA, leading to his impressive debut on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-9 Orton anchored the Hotshots’ defense and proved a handful inside the paint in leading the defending Commissioner's Cup champions to a runaway 87-62 win over the NLEX Road Warriors.
“He’s (Blakely) a great player. He did everything he could (to help me),” said Orton after scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, blocking three shots and issuing three assists in the lopsided win over against NLEX.
[see Orton as good as advertised in Purefoods debut]
The 29th overall pick of the Orlando Magic in the 2010 NBA Rookie Draft admitted feeling the pressure of trying to live up to expectations, considering that Blakely had helped lead the Hotshots to a 3-0 start in his relief job.
“Purefoods knew what to expect from him (Blakely). They know how to play with him and they play really well,” noted the 24-year-old standout from Kentucky.
“Thankfully, we had a great start and I was kinda nervous matching Marqus’ great play. Hopefully, fans are happy with it that I came close.”
Despite his impressive showing in just 31 minutes of action, Orton said he still has a lot of catching up to, saying he’s still groping while playing under coach Tim Cone’s trademark triangle offense.
“I’ve only been here (with Purefoods Star) a little bit, so I just watch them and try to learn as much as I can, though I get lost in the triangle a lot out there,” he said.
“But we find ways to make it work and my teammates, they talk to me a lot and get me integrated well,” added the NBA veteran, who had stints with the Magic, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Orton will have two extra days to continue his education on the “triangle” before getting tested by the rugged interior defense of Rain or Shine in an out-of-town game on Saturday in Dipolog City.