MIAMI HEAT HEAD COACH SPO GIVES BACK TO FELLOW FILIPINOS

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 24, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif. – He became the first Asian-American head coach to win an NBA championship last year…and 42-year old Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra and his team, the Miami Heat, continue to stay on top this season.

Spoelstra was raised in Portland, Oregon by an American father, Jon, an NBA executive and a Filipina mother, Elisa Celino, who hails from San Pablo City, Laguna.

As head coach, he taps into his Filipino upbringing for guidance. He said, “I think my mother instilled a lot in me, a lot of family values on integrity, that I hope transfer over with my dealings with the players. We treat ourselves as a family.”

Spoelstra also uses his success in the NBA to give back to the Philippines — and the children who needs his help. He said, “I’m proud of my heritage. I’m fortunate enough to go back to Manila every summer with the NBA, hold basketball clinics and be involved with the NBA’s Fit program. It’s the highlight of my summer every year.”

He said returning to the Philippines for the first time as an adult five years ago was a humbling experience. He said, “There’s a level of poverty over there that’s different, that’s eye-opening — and you can’t give enough time to help. But every little bit of help — helps.”

Spoelstra fan Lester Crisostomo said, “I’m very proud to be a Filipino right now because of him.”

Seven-year-old Kalvin Chak, who shows a lot of promise as a point guard, said he wants to be coached by Spoelstra someday. He sends his idol this message: “Go Coach Spoelstra!”

For his part, Spoelstra said he hopes to see Filipino players do well in the NBA someday.

6’10 Japeth Aguilar, who hails from Pampanga, became the first player born and raised in the Philippines to ever receive an invitation to work out with an NBA team in the D-League — the Santa Clara Warriors.

He said, “Maybe our paths will cross at some point. But I’ve read a lot about him. I’ve seen highlights — so I’m rooting for him.”

In spite of his success, Spoelstra said one thing will always stay true to himself. He concluded, “I’m proud of my heritage.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

*

*

  • MIAMI HEAT HEAD COACH SPO GIVES BACK TO FELLOW FILIPINOS | Philippines-News.com
    25 January 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

    […] By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau Jan. 24, 2013 OAKLAND, Calif. – He became the first Asian-American head coach to win an NBA championship last year…and 42-year old Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra and his team, the Miami Heat, continue to stay on top this season. Spoelstra was raised in Portland, Oregon by an American father, […] Read more… […]

  • POPULAR POSTS