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PBA fines Purefoods import P250,000

Daniel OrtonPBA Commissioner Chito Salud yesterday slapped a P250,000 fine on Purefoods import Daniel Orton for criticizing league officials and Manny Pacquiao during his team’s stunning 95-84 loss to expansion team Kia last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Salud cracked the whip yesterday or two days after Orton described the officiating and the presence of Pacquiao as player-coach as “a joke” during a postgame interview with scribes.

“For issuing comments that are disparaging, disrespectful of and offensive to his host league, the game officials and a fellow player and head coach of a member-team, a penalty of P250,000 is hereby imposed on Mr. Orton,” said Salud in a statement.

“Regardless of what action his ballclub may take regarding his status, this office disapproves of and frowns upon the cavalier manner in which Mr. Orton issued his comments and the unwarranted antics and liberties he has taken with the league and a fellow player.”

“This insulting behavior will never be condoned by this league,” added the league commissioner.

The comments came after a frustrating evening for Orton, who had only six points and three rebounds before fouling out late in the contest.

Orton said that the referees made a mockery of the game, before shifting his dismay over Pacquiao’s appearance as a professional cager.

“That’s part of the joke I was talking about,” said Orton. “Professional bwoxer, okay. Congressman, alright. Professional basketball player? No. It’s a joke. Seriously, it’s a joke.”

Meanwhile, the Meralco Bolts plan to spoil the debut of Arizona Reid as import of the San Miguel Beermen when they stake the unbeaten record today iwn the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Xavier University gym in Cagayan de Oro City.

After winning their first five games this conference, the Bolts expect Reid and the Beermen to make things more difficult in the Petron Saturday Special game set at 5 p.m.

Meralco had to dig deep before beating Globalport, 86-84, on a buzzer-beating jumper by import Josh Davis last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Just like our last game versus Globalport, we enter this game needing to be able to make in-game adjustments,” said Meralco Coach Norman Black.

Reid,a two-time Best Import, will be the main attraction at one of the league’s usual provincial stops as he joins the Beermen after playing three conferences for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

AZ Reid goes against the defense of Vic Manuel. Photo by Tony PionillaSan Miguel, however, has yet to win in four games this conference after capturing last month’s Philippine Cup title. Black, however, doesn’t expect the contest to be a walk in the park.

“We know what Arizona Reid can do as a player, but we have no idea how coach Leo (Austria) will fit him into the SMB system. One thing for sure, we will not treat them like a 0-4 team because we know how strong they are. For us playing sound defense and bringing a high energy level to the game will be the keys,” Black said.

The Beermen tapped the services of Reid in lieu of Ronald Roberts, who despite averaging 23 points, 16.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks was ineffective for the team.

“I’m not going to come here and say we’re going to win games, but we want to try though, work hard and do my best,” said Reid. “At 0-4, that’s not my work, but they want me to come in and try to help, so I’ll come in and help. That’s not a problem.”

Austria said he’s optimistic with Reid coming in, although guard Alex Cabagnot (hamstring) and forward Arwind Santos (knee) are doubtful starters.

“We had good practice session with AZ, so we’re hoping to win our first game,” said Austria.