PBA Commissioner Chito Salud fined the Purefoods Star Hotshots import Daniel Orton P250,000 for his comments on the referees who officiated the Purefoods-Kia game and on Kia’s playing coach Manny Pacquiao. “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,” read the statement of PBA Media Bureau chief Willie Marcial.
This is what Orton said: “This game was seriously a joke. The way the game was going, the refs, they made it into a mockery. This is a physical league they say, but I can’t be physical? That doesn’t make sense to me.” About Pacquiao, Orton quipped, “Professional boxer, yeah okay. Congressman, alright. Professional basketball player? No. It’s a joke.”
“We can’t win these games with bad referee calls,” Manuel V. Pangilinan, owner of Talk N Text Tropang Texters basketball team, posted on Twitter after San Miguel Beer swept the series with TNT in the Philippine Cup last year. Head Coach Jong Uichico said in the post-game interview, “It’s given when you’re playing against the San Miguel group. I have been there.” Jong knows there is a common factor that gives SMC teams the edge over non-SMC teams – the referees. He had coached two of those teams, San Miguel Beer and Ginebra San Miguel.
MVP’s tweet and Jong Uichico’s comment were disparaging to the referees. Jong’s comment about the San Miguel group was offensive to the three San Miguel-owned teams and disrespectful to the league. It is as if teams in the SMC group cannot win without the help of the referees and that the league tolerates it. But neither team owner MV Pangilinan nor Coach Jong was fined, not even a chastising word said to them.
With such inconsistency in treating PBA-affiliated personages who have made negative comments about referees, Orton has valid reason for disrespecting PBA officials, particularly fine-happy Commissioner Salud.
I have been saying all along that Pacquiao, who never played in any Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas-sanctioned tournament, playing in the PBA is a big joke and a number of sports columnists have said the same thing. Salud is piqued because he is responsible for the joke being in the league. He allowed the joke of a Congressman to enter the league as coach and player. That made the Development league and the rookie draft big jokes.
The gall of the PBA to call itself a professional league!