MIAMI Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had one word to describe Game Five of the PBA Governors Cup finals between the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the B-Meg Llamados — physical.
Spoelstra was at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday and saw the whole match, which saw three flagrant fouls being called on B-Meg star James Yap and Painters Jireh Ibanes and Beau Belga.
“In terms of last night, no question about it, it was limited to one word. Physicality,” said Spoelstra during Thursday morning’s press conference at the Marriot Hotel.
Actually, the physical play in the local league did not come as a surprise anymore for Spoelstra after an encounter with Jim Kelly, a former assistant coach and TV analyst in the PBA, more than 20 years ago.
“I remember when Jim Kelly was over here 20 years ago and he first recruited me for a possible opportunity to play in the PBA and that’s what he continued to warn me about,” Spoelstra said.
“He said, ‘Hey, this is not American college basketball, this is physical basketball here in the Philippines. Officials let tough action go' and that’s what I saw last night,” he added.
Spoelstra, however, insisted he enjoyed what he saw.
“It was great to see the passion,” he said.
After B-Meg’s 91-81 victory over Rain or Shine in Game Five, Spoelstra visited the Llamados locker room to congratulate the team.
Although he considers B-Meg coach Tim Cone a friend, Spoelstra said no player in particular had impressed him the most but one thing he would like to happen is for the series to go the full route.
“I hope the series goes seven games. I can’t root for one team, I just hope that it goes to seven,” said Spoelstra.