COMMISSIONER Chito Salud of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) on Friday slapped Purefoods import Daniel Orton with a whopping fine of P250,000 for calling KIA playing head coach and Filipino boxing idol Manny Pacquiao and league referees a “joke.”
The hefty fine was made known to Orton after a meeting with Salud at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.
“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,” Salud said in a statement to the media.
“Regardless of what action his ball club 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,” he added.
“This insulting behavior will never be condoned by this league,” Salud said.
Orton, a 6’9” former National Basketball Association power forward who played for the Orlando Magic, criticized the refer the referees after Purefoods lost to Pacquiao’s KIA Carnival (84-95) last Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Purefoods import, who struggled in defending against KIA’s Puerto Rican 7’4” import Peter John Ramos, had a poor shooting night, finishing with only six points along with three rebounds in 19 minutes of play during which he was already in foul trouble.
Orton, 24, and the Purefoods management did not give any reaction although there were reports that the American claimed that his comments were “taken out of context” when he was interviewed after the game by TV 5 reporter Fraulein Olavario.
“That’s a joke,” said Orton during the interview. “That’s part of the joke I was talking about. Professional boxer, yeah okay. Congressman, alright. Professional basketball player? No. It’s a joke. Seriously, it’s a joke.”
Pacquiao is also a congressman representing Sarangani province in Mindanao.
“This game was seriously a joke,” said Orton, who replaced injured import Marcus Blakely.
“The way the game was going, the refs [referees]made it into a mockery, seriously. They took the game that I know and love and made it into a mockery.”
Purefoods holds a 4-2 win-loss record.
Salud, according to PBA Media Bureau chief Willie Marcial, told Orton to respect the culture of the country where he plays.
Pacquiao’s long-time business manager and KIA team manager Eric Pineda said the reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight champion has nothing personal against the import.
“Manny won’t take it personally wala yun sa kanya [it’s nothing to him]. Hindi ganun si Manny [Manny is not like that],” Pineda told The Manila Times in a separate interview.
“The PBA and the Commissioner did the right thing to Mr. Orton. His comments were very disrespectful,” he said.