Mary Jane Umana makes history as first woman referee to work PBA D-League game
Mary Jane Umana became the first woman referee to work a game in the four-year-old PBA D-League. Dante Peralta

MARY Jane Umana put herself in Philippine basketball history on Thursday.

Umana became the first lady referee to officiate in a top-level men's basketball game in a long while when she worked the Livermarin-KeraMix match in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

It marked the first time a lady officiated a game in the four-year history of the D-League, although a group of women referees numbering around eight has been training for almost two years now and observing D-League and PBA games for the past month.

Sheila Petallo was the first lady referee to officiate in a Philippine basketball game during the time of the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).

PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said the league has embarked on the program with an eye on eventually tapping the women referees to work PBA games.

Marcial said the D-League experiment will dictate how soon women refs can be elevated to the pro league. 

"May balak talaga (to tap women referees for the PBA)," said Marcial, who is also a special assistant to Commissioner Chito Salud. "Tingnan muna natin sa D-League. 'Pag okay na, aakyat na natin 'yan sa PBA."

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