Pinoy refs join FIBA Asia pool
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2015 - 10:00am

CHANGSHA – Two Filipino referees will work games at the FIBA Asia Championships here starting today and their knowledge of the international rules is a major reason why they’re in the pool of 32, including two females, assigned to officiate for the duration of the tournament.


Ferdinand Pascual, 45, and Ricor Buaron, 45, are in the select lineup from 17 countries. The females in the pool are India’s Shehal Bendke and China’s Peng Ling who became the first women to work a FIBA Asia men’s tournament in Manila two years ago.

Pascual, who used to be a nursing aide at St. Louis Hospital in Baguio, was a PBA referee from 2006 to 2012. He is now among 10 Filipino FIBA-licensed international referees. Pascual was the only Filipino and one of four Asians in the referees’ pool at the FIBA World Cup in Spain last year. The former University of Baguio varsity player recently officiated at the FIBA World U19 Championships in Greece.

Buaron worked as a waiter in a hotel until deciding to become a full-time referee in 2000. He played basketball in a tech-voc school in Capiz and was invited by friends to try his luck as a referee. Buaron was classified as an academician or a trainee in the PBA D-League until he joined the SBP. A former UAAP referee, he took his FIBA license in 2008 and his biggest assignment so far was working at the FIBA World U19 Championships in Prague two years ago.

“We’re like a family in FIBA,” said Pascual. “In the SBP, we have about 50 national and 10 FIBA referees. We’re not allowed to join any referees organization like what Joe Lipa and Romy Guevara formed because of FIBA restrictions. We’re strictly with the SBP which is recognized by FIBA as a national federation.”

Pascual said FIBA’s theme for officiating is “clean the game.” He pointed out several critical elements in FIBA rules for fans to appreciate how a contest is officiated. One is the rule on fouling away from the ball in the last two minutes. “The interpretation is this is an unsportsmanlike foul which means two free throws and possession,” he said. “Before the last two minutes, it’s possible to foul away from the ball and it will be treated as a regular foul, meaning two free throws and live possession with a missed second free throw. This may be done as a tactical play but not in the last two minutes.”

Pascual also said that when an offensive player is fouled, either behind or on the side, with no defensive player between the offensive player and the goal, it is automatically an unsportsmanlike foul even if the contact may only be slight.

Pascual mentioned that a head coach will be ejected with two technical fouls or one direct technical foul and two indirect technical fouls from others on the bench or three indirect technical fouls from others on the bench. A technical foul on a player is both a personal and team foul. A technical foul in the penalty situation will only mean one free throw and possession.

In goaltending situations, Pascual said it is crucial to determine if the ball is virtually inside the cylinder. If the ball is circling inside the hoop on a missed free throw with live possession and is tipped in, it is counted as one point. If the ball is bouncing on the rim and is tipped in, it is counted as two points.

Pascual said if an offensive player holds on to the ball, without dribbling, for five seconds closely guarded by an active defender, it will be a turnover. “The key is the offensive player must be closely guarded even by one defender,” he said.

In the FIBA game, each quarter is 10 minutes, a team enters into the penalty situation after the fourth team foul and a player is disqualified on five personals. Additionally, the shot clock is reset to 14 seconds from an offensive rebound. A team is allowed two timeouts in the first half and three in the second but only a maximum of two in the last two minutes.

FIBA Asia head of national federations and sport Magesh Mageshwaran said players exposed to the international game are much improved when they return to their mother teams in domestic leagues. A concrete example is PBA back-to-back MVP JuneMar Fajardo who played with Gilas at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2014 Asian Games. The experience went a long way in building Fajardo’s confidence and improving his skill set. The appreciation of the international game enhances a player’s ability to react to difficult situations on the court.

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