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News  


Heat coach invited to FIBA-Asia tourney


PhilBoxing.com



Spoelstra.
MANILA (PNA) -- Filipino-American Coach Erik Spoelstra of the newly-crowned NBA back-to-back champion Miami Heat has been invited to come to the Philippines to lend hands in the preparation of Gilas Pilipinas to the coming FIBA-Asia world championship qualifying tournament scheduled here Aug. 1-11.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes and team manager Butch Antonio told People’s Journal Monday night that their boss, telecommunications tycoon and Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan has emailed Spoelstra congratulating him and his Heat for defending the NBA championship at the expense of the San Antonio Spurs and inviting the first Asian-American head mentor to win an NBA championship to visit the county anew.

“Boss MVP (as what sports and business sectors call Pangilinan) sent coach Spo a congratulatory message and at the same time inviting him to come to the country to observe the training of Gilas Pilipinas and help us in our preparations in terms of, say, give the boys pep talk,” Reyes said during Gilas’ practice session at the Araneta Coliseum.

And if Reyes will have his way, he would like Spoelstra, whose mother Elisa Celino, who hails from San Pablo City in Laguna, not only to give inspirational talk to Gilas members but, likewise, to tag along several of his players to play the Nationals in two or three tune up games.

“Wala pang sagot, pero I want to ask sana si Boss mag-send uli ng message inviting some Heat to join their coach in coming here,” Reyes said rather excitingly.

“I would suggest to Boss MVP that coach Spo brings along some of his players here. Not necessarily the Big Three – LeBron James Duane Wade and Chris Bosh kasi, let’s face it medyo mahirap. Siguro puede na si (Rey) Allen (Mario) Chalmers and Shawn Battier and the likes, who we could reinforce with members of the PBA Selection to play us in a series of exhibition games.” Reyes said with eyes twinkling.

“Puede namang mangyari, bakit nga ba hindi? Antonio, for his part, butted in. “Naging magkaibigan na si Boss at si coach Spo since his first visit here. If Boss MVP was able to bring here a certified NBA All-Star, bakit di nya magagawang dalhin din dito kahit tatlo o apat na Heat.”

Reyes and Antonio were one in saying playing with the Heat would not only be an honor for the Nationals but, likewise, a great boost to the their morale besides filling the vacuum left by the Jones Cup organizers’ uninviting Gilas to defend the championship its predecessor won last year.

“Napalaking bagay yun sa preparasyon natin. Sana nga ma-invite ni Boss si coach Spo and some of the Heat,” the duo chorused. Gilas members, meanwhile, started their first weight training Monday at the Moro Lorenzo Gym inside the Ateneo compound in Quezon City.

This segment of preparations, he said, will be on a regular every
other day part of training.

Reyes also told People’s Journal that as soon as the training schedule is finished, practice sessions of pure basketball will be twice a day – one in the morning and one in the evening.

He and his coaching staff -- Jong Uichico, Norman Black, Ryan Gregorio, Nas Racela and Josh Reyes -- are also studying the possibility of quartering the team a week before actual competitions.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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