Referee Development at the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships
MANGILAO (Guam) – Refereeing is a vital part of playing basketball and at the FIBA Under 15 Youth Championships, 15 referees have stepped up from Australia, Guam, Micronesia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa to officiate games.
One of those is local Guam FIBA referee, Ernest Aquino.
Aquino’s refereeing journey began at age of 15 due to local basketball competitions only catering for kids aged 14 and under. From there he has developed his craft to now be a nominated FIBA referee.
“I became more active with Guam Basketball Confederation in 2018 and was nominated to be licensed in the 2020 cycle,” Aquino said. “I’m so grateful to have been selected to referee in this years FIBA Under 15 Oceania Championships, it’s my second FIBA event.
“I had the opportunity to referee the FIBA Micronesian Cup over Summer and throughout that tournament and the Under 15s, I have been able to learn from the excellent international referees and trainers to improve and develop my individual officiating techniques.”
The greatest challenge for Aquino in his refereeing career has been the knowledge and interpretation of rules. “In Guam, we primarily use NFHS or NCAA rules as well as modified rules. Using the training provided by FIBA, along with some individual study, I have been able to evolve and prepare for FIBA events such as these championships.”
While the FIBA Under 15 Oceania Championships provide a valuable opportunity for competing teams to play basketball against the best youth players in the region, referees also make the most of the opportunity to develop.
“I really enjoy learning from the other referees and trainers that have come from off-island,” Aquino said. “The knowledge that has been gained is extremely valuable and allows me to give back and help improve our local referee group. I also love the game of basketball and want to keep close to the game.”
As his career continues to grow, Aquino is always seeking ways to inspire the next generation of officials.
“For those that are interested, I would suggest starting at the youth level or local club scrimmages. Becoming a referee also has its off-court advantages as it will help develop various skills such as communication and patience. For upcoming officials, don't hesitate to ask questions and be open to feedback.
“While our community might be small, we are all working to help each other grow and improve.”