Palace lauds Miami Heat's coach-A A +A
Saturday, June 23, 2012
MALACAÑANG congratulated on Saturday the Filipino-American head coach of the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra, for successfully steering his team through the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-106, in a decisive game five last Thursday (Friday morning in Manila).
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while the government does not want to pick a side over the competing teams, they would like to give a congratulatory shoutout to the Fil-Am basketball coach.
“Congratulations to Coach Erik Spoelstra. We do not take sides but special mention and a very big congratulations to Coach Erik Spoelstra,” Valte said.
She also welcomed Spoelstra’s reported statement that he would bring the NBA trophy to the Philippines.
“That would be good. ‘Coach Spo’ has many fans here in the Philippines who would like to also convey their congratulations and I’m sure a lot of fans will be excited,” she said.
With the Miami Heat’s recent victory, the 41-year-old Spoelstra becomes the first Asian-American head coach to have won an NBA championship. He is often regarded by fans as the “Heart of the Heat” and is well-respected among the team’s staff and players.
A proud Filipino, Spoelstra has been visiting the Philippines during NBA’s off-season to promote a healthy and active lifestyle among youths through basketball clinics via the NBA FIT program.
President Benigno Aquino III welcomed him last year when he paid a courtesy call in Malacañang.
Spoelstra is the son of Elisa Celino, a Filipina from San Pablo, Laguna, and Jon Spoelstra — an American of Dutch and Irish descent — who was an NBA executive for the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Buffalo Braves and New Jersey Nets. (SDR/Sunnex)