ANOTHER Filipino has made it to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, but he’s not an athlete.
Referee Ferdinand ‘Bong’ Pascual was recently nominated by Fiba to be one of the officials who will work the basketball cgames of this year’s Summer Games.
It’s not the first time Pascual is officiating in an event of such magnitude as he previously worked in the 2014 Fiba World Cup, the same year the country marked its return to the world stage after a 36-year absence.
Pascual securing a place in Rio comes at a time when Gilas is still looking to clinch an Olympic berth via the Manila leg of the qualifier and the country only having trackster Eric Cray as its representative so far in the quadrennial meet.
No official records are available if a Filipino referee had officiated in an Olympic basketball game in the past, but Pascual’s co-officials already considers his selection as an achievement since most of them could not recall anyone from the Philippines officiating an Olympic game in recent times.
Pascual’s nomination to be one of the officials in the Rio Games has made his colleagues proud.
“Siyempre, nandoon na siya sa ganun na level, papatawag siya talaga. Maski sa amin, it’s an honor,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) technical commission chairman Levi Valenzuela.
The 45-year-old Pascual, who has been a Fiba referee since 2002, was one of four Asian officials in the Fiba World Cup in Spain and has in fact, worked a game of the United States, which eventually won the gold medal.
While Gilas was already eliminated during the preliminaries, Pascual was still able to make it to the next round by officiating during the knockout phase of the tournament.