Former University of Baguio Cardinal squad member Ferdinand “Bong” Pascual will be the first Filipino basketball referee to officiate in back-to-back Olympics.
The 50-year-old Pascual has qualified to be among the elite referees who will officiate in the basketball games of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics set on July 23 to Aug. 8.
Pascual, who is also the supervisor of referees of the Philippine Basketball Association, has also made two appearances in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in Spain in 2014 and China in 2019.
The Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija native said he is honored to officiate in the Tokyo Olympics, where he will celebrate his birthday on July 30. He will join four other Asians in the pool of international referees.
The first Filipino referee to officiate in the Olympics was Medardo Felipe in 1984.
Pascual has been officiating FIBA-sanctioned basketball games since November 2002 and he also officiated in a pre-Olympic tournament for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He was also the only Asian to officiate beyond the preliminary round of the FIBA World Cup in 2014 and was involved in two matches between Lithuania and New Zealand; and the United States versus Slovenia.
A Commerce graduate of UB, Pascual also officiated in the UNTV Cup and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. – Harley F. Palangchao