PBA REINSTATEMENTS: LONG WAIT FOR LIMPOT, BERNARDO

MANILA, September 5, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran  - After over three months of agonizing wait, Jun Limpotís life and basketball career are back to normal.

The PBA Commissionerís Office announced yesterday the reinstatement of the Barangay Ginebra ace forward together with FedEx banger Ryan Bernardo after serving indefinite suspension for alleged illegal drug use.

"Iím happy to announce that both players, Mr. Jun Limpot of Ginebra and Mr. Ryan Bernardo of FedEx, are officially reinstated and they may join their respective teams the soonest day possible," said commissioner Noli Eala.

"The league certainly welcomes back Mr. Limpot and Mr. Bernardo. We hope they have put everything behind them and do what they do best which is to play ball," Eala added.

Bernardo can suit up today when FedEx takes on San Miguel Beer at the Astrodome while Limpot joins the Kings in their match against the Purefoods Hotdogs tomorrow in Lipa City.

In another development, Eala said their ongoing talks with the Araneta Coliseum management have been progressing on a positive note, prompting them to schedule games at the Big Dome on Sept. 7 and Sept. 14.

At the resumption of action today at the Astrodome, Red Bull Barako and Talk n Text clash in the 7:30 p.m. mainer with the Thunder going for the early solo lead following a close win over the FedEx Express in the tournament opener in Baguio Saturday.

American coach Bill Bayno is calling the shots for the Phone Pals for the second and last time this conference as heís returning to the US in the next few days to attend to his job with the Yakima Sun Kings in the CBA. But Bayno is leaving behind his assistant coach Maz Trakh who may take over if he gets a working permit with the Department of Labor and Employment.

Limpot and Bernardo were among five players who failed a mandatory drug test implemented by the league as part of its crackdown on illegal substance users within its ranks. Both were put on the freezer for a little over three months.

Limpot lost no less than P1.5 million in salary on his suspension.

Both players sat out the quarterfinals of the All-Filipino and the entire Invitational Cup. They also missed the first game of their respective teams in the season-ending tourney.

Limpot also missed the All-Star game, which he was supposed to be a part of, as the suspensions were announced days before the All-Star weekend opened.

Limpot and Bernardo are the fifth and sixth players reinstated after serving out indefinite suspensions for alleged illegal drug use. Red Bull Barakoís Jimwell Torion returned earlier than expected and suited up in the Invitational Cup. Teammate Davonn Harp, Ginebraís Alex Crisano and Talk n Textís Noli Locsin followed suit, joining their respective teams this conference.

Only the cases of Dorian Pena of San Miguel and Norman Gonzales and Long David of Talk n Text remain under review.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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