The first-ever female referee of the PBA made her debut in the opening game of the Governors’s Cup between Phoenix and Meralco on Friday.
Janine Nicandro, 23, trained for three years in the Developmental League before getting the call up as one of the 16 referees in the PBA.
A marketing graduate from Laguna State Polytechnic University, Nicandro said she was encouraged by former PBA referee and fellow Laguna native Celso Rivera to give officiating a try.
She was no stranger to the game herself, having played for the varsity team in her four years of college, but she admitted she felt pressure about officiating a professional game.
“Nakaka-tense po, nakakakaba pero masaya,” she told reporters after the game.
But Nicandro said she was prepared to overcome the pressure that comes with her job as a full-time referee, and she proved herself capable while officiating the game.
She called unflinchingly called offensive fouls and even a technical foul on Mark Borboran.
“I’m very glad that she gave a good account of herself,” said Commissioner Chito Narvasa, who added that another female referee is also included in the roster for the conference.
Narvasa said having female referees are a product of his thrust to fix the officiating in the league ever since he took office at the beginning of the season.
“We have to empower also the women, we have to give them respect. I think they’ve done a lot of progress,” he said. “We have to recognize that.” —JST, GMA News