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    Spoelstra speaks proudly of Alapag as he opens up on few NBA breaks for Asian coaches

    Oct 9, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano, AP

    MIAMI Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke highly of former Gilas Pilipinas captain Jimmy Alapag, who is now in the US pursuing coaching opportunities there.

    In a story by The Undefeated that discussed coaching opportunities, or the lack of it, for Asian coaches in the NBA, Spoelstra touched on Alapag’s hiring as an assistant coach of the Sacramento Kings summer league team last season.

    “Five years ago, nobody would have thought about bringing in a coaching intern from the Philippines,” the Fil-American coach of the Heat said in an interview with Alex Wong.


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    Alapag moved to the US with his family last month to start afresh amid the pandemic. The former PBA MVP plans to pursue coaching opportunities in the US but didn't close the door on returning to the Philippines.

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    The Miami Heat coach, whose mother is Filipina, is the only NBA head coach with Asia lineage. He acknowledged that the road hasn't become any easier for Asian coaches despite his success with the Heat.

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      “It’s going to take some very persistent people to be able to change perception and change the narratives about it. It takes really uniquely persistent people,” Spoelstra said.

      “There needs to be continued awareness and opportunities and a young generation that is willing to push open doors that are not quite open right now,” he added.

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        PHOTO: Jerome Ascano, AP
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