PROOF that he has a soft spot in his heart for the land of his mother's birth, NBA champion coach Erik Spoelstra has vowed to visit the Philippines on a regular basis to help basketball here in any which way he can.
“My commitment hopefully will be there for a long time,” said the Filipino-American mentor who held a motivational talk about leadership at the Meralco Theater on Friday afternoon.
“What I hope to do is come back here every year like we have been to work on the grassroots level with young kids and young coaches to continue this beautiful thing that we have.”
Spoelstra, whose mother Elisa Celino is from San Pablo, Laguna, is in his fourth visit to the country. But unlike the past when he mostly held cage clinics within Metro Manila and the provinces, he came over this time to fulfill his promise of bringing over the Larry O’Brien trophy shortly after steering the Miami Heat to the NBA championship last June.
During the “executive coaching session” graced by top Meralco and Smart officials, including chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, the 41-year-old Spoelstra talked about how he handled all the adversities that his highly fancied team faced on the way to the championship.
Spoelstra said he blamed himself for the Heat’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2011 NBA Finals. He also disclosed how he had to consult basketball and football coaches, motivational speakers and even psychologists, on how to better handle a team of big egos that included three-time MVP LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
He talked in a way that the big bosses of the MVP group of companies could relate to, referring to “coach” as “executive” and “team” as “company.”
Spoelstra is set to return to the US on Sunday.