When a woman plays basketball, she is often mistaken for being a lesbian, but this female ref from Zamboanga acts no different from any other woman when she is refereeing a basketball game
THRIVING. Adeline Tuayon Sebastian is tearing down stereotypes as a female basketball referee. Photo by Mars G. Alison/Rappler
AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – It is no surprise nowadays when you see a woman working a job previously only held by men. Adeline Tuayon Sebastian of Zamboanga City is not only flourishing in a world dominated by men, but she is also defying the stereotypes that most women into basketball are put in.
When a woman plays basketball, she is often mistaken for being a lesbian – not, Sebastian who acts no different from any other woman when she is refereeing a basketball game.
Sebastian has the face and height to work as a fashion model, in fact, she bagged second runner-up honors in the 2008 Supermodel Zamboanga.
And, when she’s not calling the shots inside a basketball court, she bakes pastries and dotes on her two children, a 5-year-old boy and a 5-month old girl.
The 31-year-old said she opts to work as a basketball referee because she likes the authority that goes with the job.
“Pag naa ka sa court maski kinsa pa magdula diha, kami ang official, maski kinsa pa ang magdula, mayor ba ang magdula dira o general sa SouthCom,” said Sebastian.
(When we are inside the court, no matter who is playing, we are the officials, whoever is playing, it could be the mayor or the SouthCom general.)
Of course, another incentive is that they immediately get paid right after every game.
Sebastian was one of the referees calling the shots in the recently-concluded Kim Lope Asis Mayor’s Cup Basketball Invitational 2017 held at the Lope Asis Memorial Gymnasium in Bayugan City.
Her husband, who also plays basketball, is also supportive of her being a basketball referee.
Start in basketball
Sebastian’s being a basketball referee is rooted from her love for basketball, which started when she was tapped to become a varsity member of the Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School when she was 12 years old.
Prior to that, Sebastian, along with her brother Abner Tuayon, was into track and field in her elementary years.
“Sa una di man ko hilig sa basketball but since gikuha ko as varsity, nagstart nako maganahan sa basketball,” said Sebastian.
(I was never into basketball before, but when they got me for the varsity, it was then that I started to like basketball.)
According to Sebastian, she likes the sport because he finds it very challenging.
In her secondary years, Sebastian got to attend regional meets and the Palaro, which she likes because she got to meet new friends.
She continued to play basketball in college as a varsity of the Universidad de Zamboanga, and went on to represent the region in CHED and PRISAA national games, where her team finished with a bronze in 2005.
Becoming a referee
Just like in her elementary years, it was also big brother Abner, who is also now a referee, who convinced her to try her hand at being a referee, which she did after she graduated. Sebastian joined the BAP in 2006 and started out as a table official. In 2007, she became a running referee.
Sebastian said she wasn’t discouraged by the fact that basketball refereeing is male dominated, because she also did not experience discrimination when she entered their world.
“Didto sa amo-a mas mag appreciate man sila babae ang magrefee kay first time naa babae, mao na mas ganahan jud ko magreferee,” quips Sebastian.
(In our place, they appreciate more if the referee is a girl, because it is the first time that there is a girl, that is why I really like refereeing.)
She is one of the only two women referees in Zamboanga City.
According to Sebastian, she has not experienced having her calls questioned just because she is a woman.
“Sa akoa wala man kay kung magpito jud ko magbantay jud ko kay kung naa man mga lapses ana natural man to so gina explain pud nako kanang naa mi mga dili makita ang makita lang jud namo ang mapitohan. Importante kabalo kas imong gibuhat,” Sebastian explained.
(I’ve never had that in my case, because I am always careful on when I blow the whistle. It is only natural if there are some lapses. I also explain that there are some actions that we don’t see and we only blow the whistle on actions that we see. What is important is that you know what you’re doing.)
Sebastian makes sure that she has a positive attitude in every game that she officiates.
“Dapat positive lang, kanang naa mga negative comments dili na na gina butang attention, dapat sa positive mo kuan para ang imo pud officiating maayo kay kung ginahunahuna nimo ang mga bad comments maglain jud,” Sebastian said.
(One should always be positive. Negative comments should not be given attention. You should bank on the positive side so your officiating will also be smooth, because if you dwell on the bad comments then it will affect your officiating.)
Sebastian has tried her hand in calling the shots for a PBA game held in General Santos between KIA Motors (now Mahindra) and GlobalPort in 2015, which she considers as the toughest she has ever done so far in her refereeing career.
“Kato lang man didto sa GenSan mi, katong mga PBA nagdula kay physical kaayo, first time nako murag ga adjust ba mi kay inig tawag sigeg reklamo, ingon sila wala lang daw pero gasinikohay na ba,” narrates Sebastian.
(That time when we were in GenSan, those PBA players were playing very physically, and it was my first time so I was still adjusting. When I made a call they would complain; they would say it was nothing, but they were already elbowing each other.)
According to Sebastian, the amateur players are different from the professional players.
She admits that there is a slight difference in players’ reactions between a woman and a man calling the shots inside the court.
“Oo medyo mas kalma sila pero naa jud player na batasan na jud nila nga di maayo,” said Sebastian.
(Yes, they are calmer but there are really players whose attitude is really not good.)
As much as she likes being a basketball referee, Sebastian says she has no plans of pursuing the career in Manila because she doesn’t want to be away from her family. She, however, does dream of refereeing an international basketball game.
Sebastian encourages other women to try their hand at basketball refereeing.
“Kung hilig sila sa basketball puede man sila magreferee, basta malipayon lang sila sa ilang ginabuhat pareha nako, ing-ani, malipay nako na magreferee then at the same time maka income pa ka.”
(If they like basketball they can try their hand at being a referee as long as they will be happy with what they’re doing. Like me, I am happy being a referee and at the same time, they will earn.) – Rappler.com