Blakely back in equation as Purefoods braces for fallout from Daniel Orton rant against Pacquiao, refs
Purefoods import Daniel Orton faces punishment from the league for a tirade that saw him diss Manny Pacquiao's foray into basketball as 'a joke' and accuse the referees of making a 'mockery of the game.' Jerome Ascano

PUREFOODS management is weighing its import options as the grand slam team braces for a huge fallout from import Daniel Orton's controversial rant on Wednesday night.

Moments after being held to six points in a shock 95-84 Purefoods loss to lowly KIA Motors, the NBA veteran went on a tirade that saw him diss boxing hero Manny Pacquiao's foray into the PBA as 'joke' and accuse league referees of making a 'mockery of the game.'

[See Orton goes ballistic, says Pacquiao foray into pro basketball 'a joke']

Although PBA commissioner Chito Salud has yet to issue a summon at posting time, Purefoods officials are already bracing for the worst while going on record to say that Orton's statements do not reflect the sentiment of the proud ballclub.

"His statement does not reflect the sentiment of the team," said Purefoods governor Rene Pardo. "In fact nagkamayan pa nga kami ni Cong. Manny after the game."

Pardo admitted Purefoods 'deserved to lose' to KIA with the way it played and didn't hide the team's disappointment on the performance of Orton, who he said was 'useless' because of foul trouble.

The amiable team executive said replacing the 6-9 Orton is always an option 'if he doesn't perform,' but said nothing is final at this point as he waits for the decision of the coaching staff led by Tim Cone.

Cone is understandably upset, cancelling the team's practice on Thursday.

"Siguro para makapag-isip-isip muna lahat ng mga players," Pardo said when asked about the cancellation.

[See Pacquiao proud to see KIA turn into unlikely giant-killer]

While Pardo is mum about the team's options, team insiders bared that former imports Marqus Blakely and Denzel Bowles are back in the equation for Purefoods in case the Orton controversy worsens.

Blakely led Purefoods to a 3-0 start in the PBA Commissioner's Cup while the team waited for Orton to be available, but left a day after Orton arrived from his last tour of duty in China.

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However, Blakely's return will depend on whether he is healthy or not, since the import was advised to undergo surgery for a shoulder injury he suffered during his brief stint with the Hotshots.

On the other hand, Bowles has made no effort to hide his disappointment after Purefoods didn't bring him over for the tournament for fear that he is well over the 6-9 import height limit.

The former Best Import awardee insisted he is 6-9.

[See Pardo says Purefoods willing to let 'disappointed' Bowles play for other PBA teams]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava