The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) opened the Governor’s Cup with its first-ever female referee officiating the season’s first game between Phoenix and Meralco.
Janine Nicandro, one of two PBA lady referees, made her first appearance on the PBA hard court just days after the basketball league announced the introduction of women referees in games.
Twenty three year-old Nicandro trained for three years in the Developmental League before being promoted as PBA games official.
The lady referee is a Marketing graduate of Laguna State Polytechnic University where she also played four years of varsity basketball, according to the PBA announcement.
Nicandro, who hails from Pagsanjan, Laguna told media, it was former PBA referee and province-mate Celso Rivera who encouraged her to take up the career of a PBA official.
Nicandro also admitted she felt nervous officiating her first PBA game, admitting feeling pressured from the players. “Napressure din po sa players pero kailangan ko pong ma-overcome yun.”
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa said, "I'm very glad that she gave a good account of herself."
"We have to empower also the women, we have to give them respect. I think they've done a lot of progress," the league’s chief said. "We have to recognize that."
Narvasa shared having female referees such as Nicandro is in line with this thrust to improve the officiating in the league.