View Full Version : Emilio "Jun" Bernardino, Jr. Nov. 9, 1947- Mar. 24, 2007

03-24-2007, 01:50 PM
From a text message we received this morning:

"Former PBA Commissioner Emilio "Jun" Bernardino, Jr. passed away this morning at 1:30 a.m.

His body lies in state at Chapel 4 of Magallanes Chapels. Public viewing begins at 6:00 p.m., interment date to follow.

NOTE: Please omit flowers. Cash donations are requested to be sent to Kamay ni Hesus Foundation c/o Fr. Joey Faller."

Our prayers are with you wherever you are, Comm Jun.

03-24-2007, 02:32 PM
It is worth noting though that his last major post in basketball was as Commissioner of the NCAA. I think he did very well in imposing discipline in the league, on the players, coaches and even on the fans. IMO, he did so with parity.

I had expected he will be invited again for a second tour of duty. Kaya lang si Coach sa Itaas has other plans.

Marami nang magagaling na basketball players ang nasa Itaas. I am sure welcome siya duon and he will enjoy their company.

03-24-2007, 05:30 PM
From the Oblation Nation faithful, farewell to a former Fighting Maroon, diehard supporter, and prime mover of the UP Maroons Sports Foundation (which, sadly, he never lived to see come to fruition).

Jun B. was also an ex-Blue Eagle, a "hybrid" alumnus who always had trouble figuring out which side of the venue to sit whenever his two alma maters would duke it out the Battle of Katipunan. I remember him being asked this right before the UP-Ateneo first round game last year at the NAS. He just smiled and to play safe, sat right beside his UAAP counterpart, Ato Badolato, in the officials' table.

I also saw him give a speech to the team during the team's send-off dinner a few weeks before the start of Season 69. He was one of Coach Joe's closest friends, and I'm sure the coaching staff is very saddened by his loss.

I don't know, maybe the Maroons and Eagles can do a simple ceremony in remembrance of Jun B. right before the first UP-Ateneo game of Season 70. And then maybe reserve a seat for him in between the galleries of both schools so that he can continue watching his two favorite teams play...

Mateen Cleaves
03-24-2007, 06:09 PM
My earliest memories of Jun Bernardino were from the first PBA broadcasts. He was the original Man on the Ball, courtside reporter to Dick Ildefonso and Emy Arcilla. From the TV side, he crossed over to the League office and eventually became PBA commissioner. His work in the pro league was really what he became known for.

But for people in Diliman, Jun Bernardino was also a pillar of the UP basketball community. Although he chose to maintain a relatively quiet profile in the UP Maroon program, Ibok's voice carried a lot of weight. He was the one that everyone paid attention to, and the one whose opinion was sought on almost all the major decisions regarding the basketball program. He was a man who undoubtedly bled Maroon and Green.

But much more than that, he was a true hardcore baller. Whether it was with the Blue Eaglets, or the Maroons, or with the PBA, Jun Bernardino simply loved the game. He got a lot out of basketball. And for most of his life, he gave back to the game. He will be greatly missed.

Kid Cubao
03-25-2007, 01:02 PM
rest in peace, mr jun bernardino.

03-25-2007, 06:46 PM
Jun B, icon of RP basketball
By Nelson Beltran
The Philippine Star 03/25/2007

Philippine basketball has lost an icon with the demise of Emilio Bernardino Jr. yesterday morning.

A basketball man practically all his life, Bernardino died due to heart attack, at a time when he was being considered to play a major role in what could be a big rebound of the sport at home and abroad. He was 59.

Bernardino and BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan had just set a one-on-one meeting today when he suffered the attack during the birthday party of another cage leader Moying Martelino.

The beloved former PBA commissioner was among those being considered to be SBP executive director,.

"That was shocking. I was just with him that night. It’s sad. He’s a big loss for Philippine basketball," said Pangilinan.

Bernardino embraced basketball from his youth, playing for Ateneo in elementary and high school then UP in college. He briefly coached the Maroons before being tapped as assistant of coach Fely Fajardo at Tefilin in 1979, starting a long stint in the pro league that saw him work as a TV interviewer, executive secretary, executive director, deputy commissioner and finally commissioner.

Bernardino became a PBA commissioner in 1994 at 46. He retired after the 2002 season after suffering his first attack.

Succumbing in his second attack, Bernardino’s passing was mourned by the Philippine sports world.

PBA teams were told to wear black bands for the duration of the Fiesta Cup as the league pays tribute to him.

Bernardino was hailed as a consummate sports leader and a nice fellow.

"The PBA is deeply saddened by the sudden demise of commissioner Jun Bernardino, the epitome of professionalism and vision of the PBA which he nurtured and led through its glory years. The PBA will always remember his record for longevity, his ability to rise above crisis and his affinity to the public and he will forever be remembered," said PBA commissioner Noli Eala.

"We’ve been bosom friends for more than half a century. He has no equal in goodness of heart and was Christ-like with his all forgiving nature. He is irreplaceable in my heart," said Sonny Barrios, a classmate from grade school who went to work with Bernardino in the PBA.

"He was an extremely patient man, an endearing quality that won him countless friends and allowed him to steer the PBA to where it is right now," said Atty. Butch Cleofe, another friend from way back who also served the PBA.

"I was fortunate enough to have seen and be a part of his tenure in the PBA. I can’t forget his diplomacy in trying to make the PBA stronger and bigger. He kept on saying he’s there to bear the brunt of criticism rather than see the governors at odds and divided," said Sta. Lucia governor Buddy Encarnado.

"I remember Jun B very well in his stand making a solid PBA front. He’s full of zest and humor. We’ll definitely miss him," Encarnado added.

"We came in the PBA towards the end of his stint in the league but we know very well his great contribution. We lost a great leader, a nice fellow," said Red Bull governor and team manager Tony Chua.

"I consider him as one of my mentors, among the guiding lights in my career. Inabot ko yung ibang dating PBA leaders but I’m closest with Tito Ibok," said Coca-Cola team manager Allan Caidic.

"He’s a great friend, a well-respected commissioner, a God-fearing man and a devoted family man. He will be missed," said Alaska team manager Joaqui Trillo.

Bernardino was at the helm when the PBA, in 1996, achieved record gate receipts and sales which still stand today.

The current PBA board has set assault at the 1996 records as among its goals this campaign.

In 1998, Bernardino and past PBA commissioners Leo Prieto and Rudy Salud were bestowed Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association. A year later, Bernardino became the recipient of the Executive of the Year honors during the PBA Press Corps Annual Awards.

Bernardino is survived by wife Mimi and children Stephanie and Rishi, Nolan and Marga, and Kristine. His remains lie in state at the Magallanes Chapel.

The family requested that instead of flowers, cash donations be sent to Kamay ni Hesus Foundation care off Fr. Joey Faller.

03-25-2007, 06:52 PM
So long, Jun
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 03/25/2007

Former PBA commissioner Emilio (Jun) Bernardino passed away at 1:30 early yesterday morning at the Makati Medical Center and left behind an unforgettable legacy as a sportsman with a golden heart.

Bernardino, 59, was with his family and friends celebrating Moying Martelino’s birthday at the Manila Polo Club the night before. What was supposed to be a toast for Martelino turned out to be a memorable farewell to the man everyone called Jun B.

Martelino, who was once the Asian Basketball Confederation secretary-general, turned 72 last Wednesday but his family organized a surprise party for him – with Bernardino among the chief conspirators – last Friday. POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr., SBP president Manny Pangilinan, BEST founder Nic Jorge, Sonny Barrios, Ricky Palou and Tony Boy Liao attended the affair. Little did they know it was also their chance to say goodbye to someone whom they will always hold in high regard.

Bernardino even spoke at Martelino’s birthday party, representing his friends. He was warmly applauded for his remarks. Then, as the night wore on, Bernardino started to feel funny. He didn’t want to worry his wife Mimi who was scheduled to leave for the US with their daughter today so he told her he would just go outside the Turf Room, by the swimming pool, for a chat with Liao.

Bernardino took Liao with him for some fresh air and complained of a stomach pain.

"Jun asked me to go out with him for a while because he wasn’t feeling well," said Liao. "I noticed he was perspiring heavily. His shirt was soaked. Jun didn’t want me to tell anyone. I even got a table napkin for him because his handkerchief was soaking wet. He asked me to massage his neck, which I did. He sat on a bench near the pool. Then, Ricky (Palou) came out and asked what was going on."

Bernardino told Palou he was fine and asked if he could stay with Mimi in case she got worried. His cell phone rang and he spoke with his daughter. By 11 p.m., the guests began to leave and one by one, they went up to Bernardino to say goodbye, shaking hands, sharing some laughs.

Palou noticed Bernardino didn’t look good and asked if he could drive home. That was when Bernardino asked Palou to massage his shoulders and back. Bernardino even asked Palou to use his elbows, not his hands, to apply pressure on his shoulders. Then, he said he had to go to the bathroom.

Bernardino went inside a toilet cubicle in the rest room. Palou and Liao followed. Suddenly, they heard a loud thud. Palou unlocked the cubicle door with a broom. Bernardino had collapsed.

"His tongue was out," recalled Liao. "He was very cold. His chest was hard. Mimi came running in. Jun was murmuring."

In about 15 minutes, a Lifeline Arrows ambulance arrived to rush Bernardino to the hospital. There were attempts to revive him but the Lord had already called him to Heaven. * * *
I knew Bernardino for many years. We became close friends during his watch as PBA commissioner from 1994 to 2002. He served under four commissioners – Leo Prieto, Mariano Yenko, Rudy Salud and Rey Marquez – as executive secretary, executive director and deputy commissioner before becoming commissioner himself.

In late 2001, Bernardino suffered a heart attack in Baguio and was airlifted to Manila in critical condition. He took a 4 1/2-month leave of absence to undergo chelation therapy under Dr. Art Estuita. Bernardino refused to undergo invasive surgery and left his faith to God.

For the last five years, Bernardino was a walking testament to the Lord’s will. He administered to the sick and joined Lukban, Quezon, healing priest Fr. Joey Faller in visits to those reaching out to God.

Only a few weeks ago, Bernardino and Fr. Faller visited my mother-in-law in her home to share the Lord’s message of love. It was early morning and Bernardino drove from his United Parañaque home to Tierra Nueva in Alabang to join Fr. Faller in the healing visit. That was how he cared for his friends.

Last Tuesday, I saw Bernardino at the PBA office in Libis for the Hall of Fame deliberations and the first thing he asked me when we saw each other was how my mother-in-law was.

It was Liao who texted me early yesterday morning about Bernardino’s passing away. I immediately forwarded his text to PBA commissioner Noli Eala who replied: "I’m shocked. We were just with him in the Hall of Fame honors committee meeting last Tuesday. Full of life. At nagbilin pa sa akin about Fr. Joey, the healing priest."

Even in his last hours, Bernardino showed his care and love for others. He worried about Mimi and their children Stephanie, Nolan, Vera and Kristine. He didn’t want to alarm his friends, as they said goodbye, about how he felt.

How appropriate that his closest friends were able to say goodbye the night before he left them. It was God’s way of rewarding Bernardino and reminding him, on his last day on earth, he lived a full life and his loved ones will always remember him as a man with a golden heart.

03-25-2007, 06:59 PM
Jun B goes

By Beth Celis
Last updated 05:06am (Mla time) 03/25/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- It was supposed to be a joyous occasion. His close friend and business partner Moying Martelino was celebrating his 72nd birthday and they had planned a surprise party for him at the Manila Polo Club in Makati. Moying’s eldest son Cito was supposed to invite kin and friends of family, while Jun Bernardino was tasked to ensure the presence of friends in the sporting circle.

It took the former PBA commissioner and Cito a month to organize the party but it was well worth it.

Moying was overwhelmed and moved to tears when confronted with the preparations. The company was great and so was the feast. The program made everybody laugh. Prominent guests included PLDT’s Manny V. Pangilinan, the POC’s Peping Cojuangco, Joey Romasanta, Cito Dayrit and Steve Hontiveros, former NBN-4 general manager Ramy Diez, Best’s Nic and Marilyn Jorge, Chito Loyzaga and V-League associates Ricky Palou, Tony Boy Liao, Rhea Navarro and Elmer and Esper Yanga.

The party was a huge success with everyone having fun and, as one of the punong abala, Jun B got a big chunk of the credit for this.

* * *

By 2 a.m. with only a handful of guests left, Jun stood up and headed for the veranda to get some fresh air. He had been having severe stomach pains and had gone to the comfort room twice. He pointed to a fish dish as the source of his woes. At this point, his friends noticed that his shirt was drenched in sweat.

For the third time that night, he headed straight for the toilet, followed by Ricky Palou. Not long after, Ricky heard a loud thud. He banged on the door where Jun had locked himself in, but getting no response, proceeded to destroy the lock to get the door open.

Jun had collapsed. He was blue in the face and was hardly breathing. Only a faint pulse could be felt. As they waited for the ambulance, they tried everything to resuscitate him.

* * *

Jun was still alive when the ambulance reached the Makati Medical Center where every effort was exerted to revive him.

By about 3:30 a.m., he was pronounced dead. He had suffered a massive second heart attack, this time fatal. The first one occurred close to six years ago in Baguio when he was still PBA commissioner. He was 59 years old, going on 60 this November.

The doctors did not recommend either angioplasty or heart bypass then, but asked him to look for a heart donor. Only a transplant would make him well again, they said.

Jun opted for chelation treatment and from the looks of it appeared like he had fully recovered.

Until early Saturday morning. None from among the guests would suspect that anything like this would happen.

* * *

MVP, for one, was shocked. He had spoken with Jun at the party and they were planning a meeting the following Sunday (today).

“I wanted to talk to him regarding the SBP. However, we were not able to fix the date because he had commitments this weekend. We promised to text each other for the schedule of the meeting,” MVP said.

“Parang paalam pala niya sa atin lahat last night. That is very sad. He’s a huge loss to Philippine basketball. Let’s pray for him.”

Not only a huge loss to basketball, but volleyball, and perhaps baseball too. At the time of his demise, Jun and his group were in the process of forming a baseball league similar to the V-league.

* * *

I can’t believe I’d see Jun B through almost his entire basketball career. As a Sunday Times magazine trainee, I first interviewed Jun when he was still a UP Maroon. He was already chubby at that time. I next saw him assisting coach Fely Fajardo on the Tefilin bench in the PBA. In 1982 we both worked for Vintage, he in front of the cameras as the “Man on the Ball,” and me behind as a writer. Later he succeeded Pepito Castro as executive director of the PBA, working in that capacity for several years. Then in 1994, he was installed as PBA commissioner, serving until 2002.

Jun is well-loved and will be missed by all.

03-25-2007, 07:07 PM
Bernardino passes away

By Waylon Galvez

EMILIO BERNARDINO Jr., who served longest as commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association and presided over one of the league’s most tumultuous years by introducing foreign-bred Filipino players, died yesterday of an apparent heart attack. He was 59.

Bernardino, popularly known as Jun B, was attending a birthday party which he helped organize at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City when, at past midnight Friday, and the party about to break up, he excused himself and went to the men’s room.

When he did not return, friends searched for him and found him barely unconscious at the lavatory where he probably suffered the attack. He was rushed to the Makati Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Bernardino had previously survived a heart attack in Baguio City in 2001 forcing him to take a one-year leave. His health was also seen as one of the reasons he had to step down in 2002.

Bernardino was one of the most-loved commissioners of the PBA, having practically grown with the league since its inception in 1975 where he began as a television courtside reporter.

In 1993, when former Shell executive Rey Marquez stepped down as commissioner, the PBA tapped then 44-year-old Bernardino who had served as the league’s executive director, to succeed Marquez.

The PBA under Bernardino enjoyed unprecedented success. But its popularity was challenged by a new league, the Metropolitan Basketball Association or MBA, which was taking the provinces by storm after its creation in 1998.

In 1999, Bernardino and the PBA fought back by hiring practically an unlimited number of half-bred Filipinos from various cities, mainly in the US West Coast, as they tried to put a new face for the PBA.

The policy was abused where even players with no Filipino heritage managed to play, leading to a scandal that led to deportations and suspensions.

It was one of the lowest points of Bernardino’s commissionership.

However, several of the half Filipinos during the period had assimilated themselves locally and continue to play to this day such as Asi Taulava, Erik Menk and Danny Seigle.

Like most commissioners, Bernardino had to walk a narrow line to preserve harmony in a league where conflict of interests arises occasionally.

It was under his watch that PBA membership grew to 10 with the entry of Tanduay and Red Bull.

When informed of Bernardino’s death, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan expressed shock.

Pangilinan was among those in attendance during Friday night’s party and had talked with Bernardino, arranging what some observers said was a meeting set yesterday.

Bernardino was reportedly among the candidates for the position of SBP executive director.

"This is very sad," Pangilinan said. "This is a huge loss to Philippine basketball."

PBA commissioner Noli Eala, described his successor as "a class act and for his ability rise above crisis."

He said Jun B led the PBA to its glory years and will be remembered forever for his contribution to Philippine basketball.

Bernardino practically lived and breathed basketball.

Born Nov. 9, 1947, Bernardino played high school basketball for Ateneo de Manila. In college, he played for the University of the Philippines where he graduated with a degree in Sports Management.

Though not an outstanding player, he found his niche as basketball analyst. He later joined the PBA as one of PBA commissioner Rudy Salud’s assistants until he rose to become its commissioner.

Two years after his retirement, he helped organize a women’s volleyball league, the Shakey’s V-League, which is on its third season.

Jun B is survived by his wife, Mimi, and children Stephanie, Nolan, Vera and Christine.

Bernardino’s remains lie at the St. Alphonsus de Ligouri Church in Magallanes Village . Interment will be announced later.

03-26-2007, 09:43 AM
Players, coaches pay tribute to Bernardino


IT WAS business as usual in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) yesterday with its regular double-header, but the untimely demise of former PBA Commissioner Jun Bernardino left a feeling of emptiness for players, coaches and league employees alike.

The man fondly called "Kume" or "Jun B" suffered an apparent heart attack Saturday morning and was dead on arrival at the Makati Medical Center.

"For me he’s more than just a commissioner. He’s a very close friend and he’s also close to my family," said former pro Allan Caidic, who now served as team manager of Coca-Cola.

"He had a big contribution to me as a player and also as a person," added Caidic who got close with Bernardino during his stint with the PBA-backed Philippine teams in several Asian Games.

Like Caidic, Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico remembered Bernardino for his genuine concern for members of the national team then training for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, Korea.

Uichico recalled that Bernardino, the team manager then, had just recovered from a heart attack, but continued to show up in the team practices.

"He could have just rested," said Uichico. "But he went there and supported the team all the way. That’s where we really became close. He’s also a true gentleman. His style of managing really stands out."

Kings forward Eric Menk said he got to know Bernardino better when he was already out of the PBA.

"Every time I meet him, he’ll go out of his way and ask how I was doing," Menk said.

PBA employees Ricky Santos, Hazel Ancheta and Gerry Mesias considered Bernardino as their second father.

"Whenever he makes transactions, he always puts the integrity of the PBA," said Santos, who first served as executive assistant and media officer of the league in 1996.

Santos is now the PBA chief of operations.

Long before she joined the PBA in 2000, Ancheta knew Bernardino during the Vintage Enterprise days. She said that the last time she saw Bernardino was Tuesday when he came to the PBA Office in Libis, Quezon City.

"After attending a meeting there, he went to the different offices of those (employees) who worked for him during his time in the league to say hello, never knowing he’s saying goodbye," said a teary-eyed Ancheta.

Mesias, on the other hand, started as a caretaker in the PBA in 1981, but rose to become the league’s ticketing chief since 2003.

"Ninong namin s’ya ng wife ko (Rosemarie) sa kasal," said Mesias. "One time in-invite namin s’ya sa family outing, walang kiyeme, pinuntahan n’ya kami. Parang tatay ko na ‘sya eh."

Bernardino also served as ‘godfather’ to Norman and Carmen Black’s wedding.

Black came to the Philippines in 1981 to play in the PBA Open Conference as import of Tefilin Polyester, where Bernardino was an assistant coach and team manager.

"Well, he’s the first Filipino I met. He’s the one who met me at the airport," said Black "He’s also helped me adjust to the Filipino culture. Every time I had a problem I always called him."

Bernardino’s remains lie at the St. Alphosus de Ligouri Church in Magallanes Villa.

03-26-2007, 09:55 AM
Tribute, belated apology to Jun B, our coach

By Recah Trinidad
Last updated 02:12am (Mla time) 03/26/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Ibok, Emilio “Jun” Bernardino Jr., or simply Jun B to basketball lovers, was not a frontrunner when they started deliberating on who would succeed Rey Marquez as PBA commissioner in 1994.

Maybe there were others with more impressive credentials. Naturally, Philippine Basketball Association founders, whether they liked it or not, had to take a gamble in picking Bernardino.

Little did they know it was the best wager they would ever make for the pro league.

Jun B did not only guide the PBA to some of its finest seasons.

He also steered the league out of severe crises, with no noticeable cry or creak.

Even before his passing at age 59 the other day, Bernardino was already a hands-down choice as one of the three most outstanding commissioners the PBA ever had.


Now they call this mild-mannered manager a man with a golden heart -- an understatement.

A born fighter, Jun B had a unique way of playing hard in order to win.

But his best and worst trait was that he did not seem to know what moderation or temperance was when it came to his basketball mission. He was a tireless worker, with a consuming passion, who gave his all until the heart literally could no longer take it.
As a result, the entire PBA, fans included, should continue to wear an invisible black arm band past the current conference, in memory of Jun B’s dedication and greatness.


The late Danny Floro of the Crispa Redmanizers, the main man behind the first PBA grand slam, was the Dr. Yes of Philippine basketball.

But Bernardino himself did not know how to say no when it came to basketball.

He should hold the distinction of never having turned down a basketball job, no matter how daunting.

Being the longest-serving PBA commissioner, Jun B was at the forefront -- top backer and resident worrier -- of three RP Asian Games basketball expeditions to the Hiroshima (1994), Bangkok (1998) and Busan (2002) tournaments.

This reporter had felt how he would die a little with each failed campaign.

The most savage blow, of course, came in the Busan Asiad semifinal match against South Korea, which RP lost only after an incredible triple by an invisible Sokor sniper in the final seconds.


It was too much for any man to take.

Jun B must’ve been crushed, but he grimly kept his poise.

This would not be the case with his son, who broke down, crying, “No, this is not true, this cannot be.”

A victory and a dream Asiad finals meeting with powerhouse China would’ve been a culmination of lifelong dedication and sacrifices.

Jun B kept all the hurt to himself.


Says Sta. Lucia Realty governor Buddy Encarnado: “He took the blame, bore the brunt of criticism rather than see the governors at odds and divided. I can’t forget his diplomacy in trying to make PBA stronger and bigger.”

He rolled with the punches after he was hit hard for bringing in Fil-Am players.

Finally, Jun B had to officially retire after having served longest as PBA commissioner.

But did he ever give his overworked heart a rest?

The last and final time we saw each other, he gave me a warm hug.

His eyes were moist. This was during the basketball unity congress at the Dusit Hotel, moments after it was officially announced the Philippines would next be restored by the international basketball federation (FIBA) to its world roster.

You could see Ibok was the happiest man in the world.

He had cried and suffered quietly for RP basketball in the years it had been suspended from international competition.


Yes, there would have been a celebration if his impending appointment as executive director of the new national basketball body, Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas, had materialized.

Well, maybe this need not be mentioned here.

Your reporter, at one time, ended up wearing Jun B’s playing shoes during an impromptu workout at the Rizal Memorial of the Sports Scribes, the team composed of sportswriters for the National Press Club Inter-Beat league.

The shoes, sad to say, would not fit.

They were my size, but they were uneven and well-worn, by a dedicated fellow who would dig truly hard at both ends of the court.

The problem with Ibok was that he had sincerely thought us sportswriters would do our basketball as hard and seriously as he would.

He entertained the obscene notion he could squeeze good, decent basketball out of creaky, beer-powered limbs.

He could not say no. He paid for it.

Sorry, coach.

03-26-2007, 09:57 AM
‘It’s like losing a second father’

By Musong R. Castillo
Last updated 02:06am (Mla time) 03/26/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- It was in October 1995 when I first had a real talk with this man during the wake for my father whom he never really knew.

Though I really cannot recall the exact words of that long conversation, whatever he told me comforted me easily enough since he talked straight from the heart.

Three years later, I found myself working for Emilio P. Bernardino Jr., the well-loved PBA commissioner, to handle the Philippine Basketball Association’s media affairs as the league was about to cross paths then with the Metropolitan Basketball Association.

Under him, I found my father again, though in a different shape and form and in a less stern way if you will. But Bernardino also knew how to instill discipline and professionalism in his employees and this helped make the PBA tick.

Bernardino made the PBA a better league when the MBA (now defunct) was there. He made everyone around him better because he was on top of the situation.

The man ate, talked and breathed basketball, nothing more. The only things that meant more was God first and family next.

“Talk to your families, because the (new) season would open soon. Tell them not to expect you to be home that much because we have jobs to do,” was Bernardino’s familiar refrain.

“Jun B” loved to eat, that’s why he went into the restaurant business after retiring in 2003. He never had serious vices after he quit smoking in 2000, except crispy pata, lechon kawali, kare-kare, bagoong, etc.

“That man is scared of going hungry,” Rickie Santos, who continues to be with the PBA Commissioner’s office, kept reminding me in jest then because of the ton of food Jun B would order for staff meetings.

But some of the food was intended for his rank-and-file employees whom he cared for the same way he did his staff.

“My compassion is limitless,” he told me once. “I won’t be happy if the person sitting next to me is not. Be compassionate in life and you won’t go wrong.”

Jun B never really had a serious illness before the first heart attack in Baguio City in 2001, when he had difficulty breathing because he thought “that the air going up was thinning.”

The occasional attack of gout was the only thing that slowed him down in doing his duties. But even with a noticeable limp, that didn’t stop him from helping people in and out of the PBA even if he had to go out of his way.

I was the first non-family member to see him at the Capitol Medical Center the day after his first heart attack. While holding my hand and tears streaming down his cheeks, he said:

“Pare, masama itong tumama sa akin, huwag niyong pababayaan ang trabaho niyo sa opisina, ha. (What happened to me was bad, don’t forget to do your jobs well)”

He looked so helpless. His entire body was cramping up because the doctors had flushed the potassium out of his system, yet the only thing he could think of was the league he helped nurture.

Bernardino got back to work after a year, but not in the same tireless fashion that he used to show since the early 1980s.

Another heart attack followed in 2004 and he finally succumbed after the third at the Manila Polo Club on Friday night.

I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the last time Wednesday night.

“I’m still here because of God’s grace,” he said. “As long as He still wants me around, I’m not keeping still.”

Even then, “Kume” talked straight from the heart. But God wants him up there now. Losing a father once was hard enough. Now I have lost two in my lifetime. And I will forever remember the man whose heart was bigger than his body.

03-26-2007, 10:03 AM
play on, sir jun b., under the wings of The Great Mentor. my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

full battle gear
03-27-2007, 11:13 AM
PBA names perpetual trophy after Bernardino

Last updated 02:32am (Mla time) 03/27/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Paying tribute to the late Emilio Bernardino Jr., the Philippine Basketball Association has decided to name the Perpetual Trophy given to the champion of the Philippine Cup after the longest-serving commissioner popularly known as Jun B.

Commissioner Noli Eala said Bernardino’s complete dedication to his job should be honored by naming the trophy after him.

“While deeply saddened by his untimely demise, it is the PBA’s pride to name the Perpetual Trophy after the late Jun Bernardino, whose professionalism, dedication and vision in his capacity as commissioner for nine long years propelled the league to greater heights,” said Eala of his well-respected predecessor.

The golden Perpetual Trophy, which costs P500,000, was crafted by world-renowned artist Ramon Orlina. The award is given to a team that wins the All-Filipino conference three times in a row.

Barangay Ginebra received a replica of the trophy when it won the recent Philippine Cup.

Bernardino died of heart attack early dawn of Saturday. He was 59.

Bernardino played for Ateneo de Manila University in high school and the University of the Philippines in college before crashing the PBA as assistant coach of Tefilin.

After a brief stint with Vintage Sports where he became famous for the “Man on the Ball” segment of the TV coverage, he joined the PBA where he rose from secretary to executive director to deputy commissioner and finally to commissioner, the fifth man to head Asia’s first play-for-pay league.

He ran the country’s No. 1 sports league from 1994-2002, a stint that saw the PBA achieve all-time records in both attendance and gate receipts that still stand today.

Bernardino stepped down after the 2002 season, a year after suffering his first heart attack.

The PBA will hold a special tribute for Bernardino when the league celebrates its 33rd year on April 8.

In honoring Bernardino, the PBA will include the charitable institutions he had supported, such as the Kamay ni Hesus Foundation of Fr. Joey Faller, in the list of foundations the league has been helping through the years.

PBA players have begun wearing black patches on their uniforms and will do so for the duration of the Talk ‘N Text Fiesta Conference.

full battle gear
03-28-2007, 11:53 AM
Kristine’s scapular a gift for Jun
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 03/28/2007

Former PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino will be laid to rest at the Heritage Memorial Park in Fort Bonifacio after the 8 a.m. Requiem Mass at the Magallanes Church in Makati on Saturday.

Since Jun’s remains were brought to Magallanes for the week-long wake last Saturday night, the chapel has been swamped by friends, relatives and condoling with his wife Mimi and their children Stephanie, Nolan, Vera and Kristine.

Laying in state, Jun couldn’t be handsomer in a crisp barong Tagalog. He has an Our Lady of Guadalupe scapular around his neck and a Sacred Heart pin on the front of his shirt. The scapular was a gift from Kristine, the youngest in the family at 24.

"I found it at the bottom of the sea when I was swimming in Batangas," said Kristine, a nursery school teacher.

Eldest child Stephanie lives in Chicago with husband Rishi, a lawyer. She’s involved in theater and the arts. Nolan, an Ateneo graduate and the only boy, works at GSIS and is married to Marga. Vera is taking up medicine at UP, Jun’s alma mater.

The names of Jun’s wife, children, son-in-law and daughter-in-law are written on cloth strips stuck to the inner cushion of the open window in his coffin. Below the names of the immediate family are two more strips with the names Linus and Charlie, Jun’s dogs.

Last Sunday night, hundreds poured into the chapel to pay homage to the man everybody loved. Among those who came were PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan, PBA commissioner Noli Eala, Eric Altamirano and wife Marissa, Don Allado and wife Maricar, Benjie Paras, Bong Hawkins, Allan Caidic, Binky Favis, Nic Jorge, Sonny Barrios and wife Becky, Ricky Palou, Dave Brodett, Tonet Itchon, Perry Martinez, Ricky Santos, Chito Loyzaga, Bay Ledesma, Mario Raymundo, Norman Black and wife Benji, Jimmy Cantor, Rhea Navarro and The Star sports staff’s Lito Tacujan, Gerry Carpio, Dante Navarro, Nelson Beltran and Abac Cordero.

Rhea said Jun never wanted to be a bother to anyone. At Moying Martelino’s surprise birthday party at the Polo Club last Friday night, he could’ve asked to be rushed to the hospital at the first sign of a heart attack but kept it to himself.

"Of course, Jun knew he was having a heart attack," said Rhea who was at the party. "He had survived two heart attacks. He knew the symptoms. But he didn’t want to worry anyone. He didn’t want to disrupt the party. It was just like him to do that."

Jun collapsed in the Polo Club restroom and was brought to the Makati Medical Center by a Lifeline Arrows ambulance. He died at approximately 1:30 early Saturday morning.

"I’d never seen Jun so happy that night," recalled Tony Boy Liao who worked closely with Bernardino in the Shakey’s V-League. "He took me around and introduced me to his friends. I was with him for over an hour before he died. You couldn’t tell he was feeling bad as after the party ended, his friends went up to him to say goodbye, shake hands and crack jokes."

Rhea said it was strange that Jun declined to join Moying, MVP, POC president Jose Cojuangco and former POC president Cito Dayrit for a photo pose during the party. And she mentioned that when Moying was led to the Turf Room for the surprise party, the first person he saw through the glass window—of all the well-wishers in line—was Jun waving at him, as if to say goodbye.

Not too many people know that Jun was instrumental in bringing Norman to the country. Jun was coach Fely Fajardo’s assistant at Tefilin in the PBA and recruited Norman to play as an import in 1981. Jun became the original "Man on the Ball" on the PBA telecast as a courtside reporter in 1982 and a few months later, succeeded the late Pepito Castro as PBA executive secretary.

Reacting to Jun’s passage, former PSC commissioner Mike Barredo said: "We have a lot to thank Jun B for his support to the Philippine Wheelchair Basketball League when he was still the PBA commissioner. God bless his kind soul, on behalf of Philspada and all athletes with disabilities."

full battle gear
03-30-2007, 11:41 AM
Final rites for ‘Jun B’ tomorrow

Last updated 04:18am (Mla time) 03/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Local basketball will bid its final farewell to the well-loved Emilio P. Bernardino Jr. tomorrow.

Bernardino, who died of heart attack on Friday night, will be laid to rest at the Heritage Memorial Garden in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Before interment, a funeral mass will be held at 8 a.m. at the Main Altar-Bahay Kubo of the Magallanes Parish. Tonight, a necrological mass will be held at 8 p.m. also at the Magallanes Parish.

Sport luminaries have been paying their last respects to Bernardino, the longest-serving commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association.

The ninth-day Novena Mass will be on April 1. Its venue will be announced later.

Bernardino, who would have turned 60 on Nov. 9, left behind wife Mimi and children Nolan, Stephanie, Kristine and Vera and son-in-law Rishi and daughter-in-law Marga.

The family has requested that friends and sympathizers omit flowers and forward all cash donations to the Kamay ni Hesus Foundation through Father Joey Faller.

Popularly known as “Jun B” and “Ibok” to family and close friends, Bernardino took over as PBA commissioner at the end of the 1994 season and went on to steer the league to its glory years.

Bernardino first came to the league in 1979 as assistant coach to Fely Fajardo in the Tefilin squad, before becoming the famous “Man on the Ball” as a courtside reporter in 1982.

He later worked behind the scenes as executive secretary, then as executive director, deputy commissioner and commissioner. He retired in 2003. Jasmine W. Payo

04-05-2007, 09:25 AM
Pro league pays tribute to Jun B

The Philippine Star 04/05/2007

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) pays tribute to a league pillar when it turns 32 on April 8 at the Araneta Coliseum.

The late commissioner Emilio "Jun" Bernardino will be given a special tribute during the anniversary rites on Easter Sunday, that also features the induction of 10 basketball individuals into the PBA Hall of Fame.

As a way of recognizing his legacy to the league, the Perpetual Cup will be named as the "Jun Bernardino Trophy," to be given to the team that wins the Philippine Cup three times in a row.

The gold-laced Cup, worth more than half a million pesos, was crafted by world renowned artist Ramon Orlina.

The celebration rites will be held in between the Sunday doubleheader featuring Welcoat and Purefoods in the first game and Red Bull and Barangay Ginebra in the main event.

The Sunday festivities begin at 3:30 p.m.

Bernardino was the fifth commissioner in the three decades that Asia’s first play-for-pay league existed, serving as the longest PBA chief ever from 1994 to 2002. He died of a heart attack last March 24 at the age of 59.