FedEx offers to pick up the tab
- Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran () - February 5, 2002 - 12:00am
A solution to Romel Adducul’s problem is now in sight.

Adducul may be able to return to the national candidates pool without compromising his projected income in the year as Airfreight 2100/FedEx chairman and CEO Bert Lina reiterated yesterday his offer to shoulder the player’s salary.

"Eh, para sa bayan ito, so kumatok lang si
Romel (Adducul) sa amin, kami na ang bahalang magpa-sweldo sa kanya (This is for the country. So if Romel comes to us, we’ll be willing to take care of his salary while playing for the national pool)," said Lina.

Lina underscored their commitment to help the national team while introducing to the media the members of the Airfreight 2100/FedEx team which is debuting in the Philippine Basketball Association this season.

PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino welcomed the development and said he’ll sit down with Air 2100/FedEx top honcho to discuss further the matter. Bernardino has been talking with MBA officials to solve the problem.

Adducul, the MBA main attraction, has abandoned his bid for a berth in the national team bound for the Asian Games in Busan, South Korea this September with the Batangas Blades balking at the plan of allowing the 6-foot-6 behemoth to be in the national pool while the MBA season is ongoing.

The question besetting MBA officials is who will take care of Adducul’s salary while he’s playing for the national pool in the PBA. Lina hopes to provide the answer.

On their PBA participation, Lina said: "Our aim is to put up a team that will live up to our business motto of fast and reliable service that delivers on time."

Two high-flying imports pitting guts and skills with a mixed crew of grizzled veterans and promising rookies will be the showcase of the Air 2100/FedEx ballclub.

Coach Derick Pumaren will have at his disposal Jerry Codiñera, Dindo Pumaren, Bong Alvarez, Yancy de Ocampo, Renren Ritualo, Zaldy Realubit, Ryan Bernardo, David Friedhoff, Danny Capobres, Biboy Simon, Wynne Arboleda, Gido Babilonia, Egay Billones and imports Rodrick Rhodes and Jermaine Walker.

"It’s a decent team which I believe can match up with the best of the league," said Airfreight 2100 president Lito Alvarez.

Alvarez said they may add Bong Hawkins in their lineup if the PBA Commissioner’s Office decides in favor of the veteran player in their contract dispute. The problem stemmed from two contracts Hawkins signed with Tanduay Rhum last year.

"Kapag sinabi ng
PBA na tatlong taon pa ang kontrata ni Hawkins, we we’ll no longer buy out his contract dahil malaki iyon. We might as well play him in those three years," said Alvarez, who thinks the team is tied up with Hawkins for only one year.

Despite being new in the PBA, Alvarez hopes to have an impressive stint in the new season which begins on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. The Express are featured in the opening game against the Coca Cola Tigers.

"We’re very positive of our chances, especially in the first two conferences, considering that a team’s chances there hinge on the quality of imports that you can bring in. Are Rhodes and Walker as good as advertised? We still have to find out. But if they are, then watch out for the Express," said Lina.

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