NEW import Daniel Orton was everything Purefoods had hoped he would be in his debut, leading the defending champions to a smashing 87-62 victory over a listless NLEX squad in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-9 Orton was as good as advertised as he took over from stand-in Marqus Blakely, providing the inside scoring, solid rebounding and shot-blocking Purefoods needed in roaring to its fourth straight win this conference and a share of the lead with idle Meralco.
The former NBA veteran center/forward debuted with 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in just 31 minutes of play, before Purefoods Star coach Tim Cone emptied his bench players midway through the fourth period when the game was already beyond reach.
“Daniel gave a lot of energy. He’s a big man and with that wingspan of his, making him so much bigger,” said a visibly impressed Purefoods Star coach Tim Cone. “With him (Orton) anchoring the defense behind us and controlling the boards, that makes us much tougher defensively.”
The former Oklahoma Thunder reserve proved too strong to stop for Al Thornton, Asi Taulava and other NLEX big men in a game the Hotshots put away with a searing run in the third period.
Thornton, who dropped 39 points in the team’s 96-95 loss to Alaska last weekend, was so outplayed he was held to just 11 on a woeful 3-of-14 shooting.
Playmaker Mark Barroca came off the bench to provide additional spark for the defending champions Hotshots, finishing with a near double-double of 17 points and nine rebounds.
Allein Maliksi added 16 points, including four three-pointers that allowed the Hotshots to pull away in the third period.
NLEX dropped its third straight game to start the midseason conference to be in the company of newly-crowned Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer at the cellar.
Nino Canaleta led the Road Warriors with 13 points, while Asi Taulava added 11 and 14 boards in a losing effort.
PUREFOODS 87 - Barroca 17, Orton 16, Maliksi 13, Devance 11, Pingris 7, Yap 7, Melton 4, Mallari 4, Pennisi 3, Taha 2, Gaco 2, Reavis 1, Alvarez 0, Allado 0.
NLEX 62 - Canaleta 13, Thornton 11, Taulava 11, Cardona 9, Ramos 7, Arboleda 3, Baloria 3, Lingganay 2, Borboran 2, Villanueva J. 1, Hermida 0, Soyud 0, Camson 0, Apinan 0.
Quarterscores: 22-20, 36-26, 65-45, 87-62