A fourth University of Baguio Cardinal is expected to fly to Tokyo in July for the delayed Summer Olympics.
Former University of Baguio Cardinal Bong Pascual will be flying to the Japanese capital not as part of the Philippine delegate but will wear the grey shirt of the World Basketball Federation or FIBA.
“This will be my second Olympics and back to back,” said the lanky former UB Cardinal, who played with some of the greatest red shirts from the most successful basketball program of the city.
Three UB students have booked their tickets to the summer spectacle with Irish Magno doing it last year before the lockdown. Then she was joined by fellow boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam this month after the cancellation of the qualifiers supposedly to be held in Paris, France this June.
Pascual was one of the FIBA referees who called the shots in the 2016 Olympics won expectedly by the United States squad led by Los Angeles Laker Lebron James.
Pascual is a two time World Cup referee when he whistled in the 2014 and 2019 editions.
Pascual was part of the 1988 – 1989 UB Cardinals that is considered one of the greatest line ups with future Shell star Jun Marzan as one of its star players. They went to the finals of the National Inter-Collegiate in 1989 where they lost to the Paul Alvarez led San Sebastian College Stags.
“I had less playing time since I was playing with some of the bests Cardinals that ever played,” said Pascual, referring to that team that included another Philippine Amateur Basketball League standout Norman Loyao.
Behind the 33 of the high flying Alvarez, San Sebastian won 88-76 at the UB gym.
“Nakasama ko sila pero natabunan ako,” he laughingly told RNG Luzon through private message. Pascual also joined the Shakey’s team with his UB Cardinals teammates under the late coach Nestor Cartas.
He said that he was supposed to join UB again in 1990 but then the killer earthquake struck in July 16.
From there, Pascual took a referee job along with former teammate Paul Gamorot and whistled during the last days of the Baguio Benguet College Athletic Association. With its disbandment before the 1995 season, Pascual whistled for the newly founded Baguio Educational Athletic League in 1995, now the Baguio-Benguet EAL.
He also tried his hands in coaching, and took under his wing the Camp 8 squad which nearly upset powerhouse A2J in 1999, a team that included four of the National Streetball champions: John Della, Ramonchito Estigoy, Zanny Quiroz and Carlo Rivero. Rivero and Estigoy played for UB.
In 2000, he left for Manila to concentrate on being a basketball referee and was taken in by FIBA in 2002 as an international referee.
“I became a FIBA referee in 2002 and still am to the present. My service with FIBA was continuous so it is quite long now (19 years),” added Pascual.