Officiating among UAAP priorities

    FORUM GUESTS: Atty. Rebo Saguisag and Jensen Ilagan grace the PSA Forum.
    FORUM GUESTS: Atty. Rebo Saguisag and Jensen Ilagan grace the PSA Forum.

    OFFICIATING, specifically in the centerpiece event of basketball, will be among the top priorities of the UAAP when its Season 82 kicks off today.

    UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and basketball commissioner said improving officiating is a testament to the league’s serious intent of minimizing deplorable calls and weeding out incompetent officials.

    “Our advocacy is in referee development. I do like our 3Es, which is to Educate, Empower, and Enable. Importante ‘yun since the referees have long been ignored and abused for the longest time.

    And misunderstood, by the way,” Saguisag said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum yesterday at the Amelie Hotel Manila.

    Ilagan is tasked to handle the sensitive matter and among the innovations the technical director of the ASEAN Basketball League will be implementing is adapting analytics for referees’ performance.

    Analytics concerns turning raw data into insight for making better decision and relies on the application of statistics and operations research to quantify and gain insight to the meanings of data.

    “We’re going towards the direction of having data and evaluating referees based on data. We have to have basis to be able to support our assertion that a certain referee is performing well or not,” explained Saguisag, 47, in the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

    “On appreciation and gathering of data, diyan magaling si Jensen,” he added about Ilagan, 37, a FIBA certified table official with a degree in commerce at the Asia Pacific College.

    Immediately, game officials will be put to a test with the holding of three men’s and three women’s matches as basketball ushers in the 2019-2020 edition of the league.

    Five-time women’s champion National University, undefeated in 80 games dating back to 2014, opens its title retention bid against Far Eastern University at 8 a.m. followed by the men’s action at the Araneta Coliseum. To be played simultaneously at the UST gym are the women’s matches between Ateneo and UE (8 a.m.), and La Salle against UP (10 a.m.)

    Under Ilagan, the UAAP conducted tryouts for its pool of referees last July where a total of 174 officials participated. The cast was later trimmed to 77 and finally down to 55 which were later divided into teams A and B from which a pool will be made to call the shots for the seniors basketball tournament.

    “They all underwent intensive training and part of it includes interpretation of FIBA rules, officiating mechanics, among others. Since Day 1 our main objective is to Educate, Empower, and Enable,” said Ilagan.

    For the first time, the UAAP will have its first female Deputy Commissioner in Edith Boticario, who will help Ilagan oversee all basketball games, including the debuting girls’ basketball event.

    Boticario is among the pioneer lady referees in the PBA who is also a FIBA-licensed official.