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Sep 29th
Home Sections Sports Spoelstra Wants to Hold Basketball Clinic With Manny Pacquiao
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Monday, 17 January 2011 10:34


Journal Group Link International)


Filipino-American NBA Coach Wants to Educate Filipino Youth to Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle of Physical Fitness and Nutrition Program


C HICAGO (jGLi) – Filipino-American Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra is planning to spend his third consecutive summer this year in the Philippines to educate Filipino youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle of having physical fitness and nutrition programs.


At the same time, the 40-year-old NBA coach plans to mix basketball clinic with boxing with Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao.


In an exclusive video interview with this reporter, Erik Spoelstra also said that although his Miami Heat acquired the most sought-after free agents last summer in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to make up the “three kings” of the NBA as it kept Dwyane Wade in the team, it is still too “early” to tell if the blockbuster acquisitions have lived up to early expectation.


The bachelor coach said, Miami Heat is really “thrilled to have LeBron and Chris” in our fold. “It was terrific for them to join our team and help us grow. They are incredible talents,” pointing out that Bosh is an Olympian and an all-star while James was last year’s MVP.


“There is a lot more to do. Our team still has its struggles as LeBron and Chris are trying to fit into our system.” Spoelstra said. “Hopefully, they will be able to take us to our dream of having back the 2006 championship.”


When the Heat opened this year with a tentative 9-8 start, the chemistry of the team was put into question. However, the Heat later ran a 21-1 record, quieting some doubts that one of the Three Kings was under-performing. The Heat is now on course to give Boston Celtics a run for its money in the Eastern Conference.


He said, “I hope the Filipinos, whose passion for basketball is as great as boxing, will be rooting for Miami as we make our run for the playoffs and the NBA championship this year.”


Erik Spoelstra’s Annual Summer Visits to Manila


C oach Spoelstra said when he went to the Philippines during the last two consecutive summers, it was in keeping with the National Basketball Association program to help educate the youth on their lifestyles of physical fitness and proper nutrition and making healthy choices at a young age.


They were great trips for him and he took them because he loves basketball and he did it for the home country of his mother and her hometown of San Pablo, Laguna.


“It was really special for me personally and visiting San Pablo was the highlight of my trips. I wish to go there more often or my family can come here (in the U.S.) to watch NBA. It’s a beautiful game,” according to the youngest coach in the NBA. “I plan to return this summer – July and August – in the Philippines and hope to make the NBA program bigger and better than the last two years.”


In one of his trips to the Phillippines, Coach Spoelstra happened to meet Manny Pacquiao. He said his meeting with Manny “was great. I’m a big fan of Manny Pacquiao. It’s a dream to meet him. Somehow, our schedules were coordinated. We were able to say hello to each other and exchange pictures that we can have for a long time.”


Coach Spoelstra said he hopes to meet Manny again. “I love to have clinic with him (Manny) this summer. Combine boxing and basketball. The two passions in the Philippines. That would be perfect.”


He also said he was also able to witness both the college and Philippine Basketball Association championship rounds. It was a perfect time. I saw Ateneo and La Salle (rivalry). It was a great atmosphere, like the competition between Duke and North Carolina (in the NCAA) here. The championship round in the PBA was very competitive.”


He reiterated his initial comment to this reporter two years ago that Filipino players can play in the NBA. “You never know,” he said.


“Basketball game is becoming so global now that 25 years ago, nobody could say that Yao Ming from China or Dirk Nowitzki of Germany could play in the NBA. Basketball is such a passion (in the Philippines), it is only a matter of time.”


The interview with the second-year head coach of the NBA took place after the shoot around in the United Center as Miami Heat visited the Chicago Bulls last Saturday, Jan. 15.


The game later that night was a shootout between Bulls’ Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade before a record-breaking crowd of more than 22,000. But the Bulls got the upper hand when Bulls’ Kyle Korver dropped a late 3-pointer for the final 99-96 score. # # #


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Last Updated on Monday, 17 January 2011 10:46

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