The NBA Finals feels like Miami versus the World, but there's at least an entire other nation rooting wildly for the Heat: The Philippines. Yes, Coach Erik Spoelstra's mother is a native of the Pacific nation, and Spoelstra is the first Filipino-American head coach of any major North American professional sports team. Even the county's vice president is telling everyone to pray for a Heat victory.
"As it is, Spoelstra has already done the country proud by guiding Miami to the NBA finals," Vice President Jejomar Binay told the Malaya Business Insight. "Let's pray that he makes us prouder by winning the title."
Of course, Spoelstra isn't the number one sporting pride of the Philippines just yet. That title currently belongs to boxer Manny Pacquiao, but even the Pac-Man is lining up behind the Heat and Spoelstra.
"As a Filipino, I would like Miami to win mainly because its coach is a Filipino and, as such, he and his Heat's victory would certainly bring further honor to the country," says Pacquiao.
Last night, during a segment on WPLG's post-game news cast a Filipino reporter told the station that interest in the finals is high in the nation and that ratings are through the roof.
Meanwhile, The Manila Standard Today has a collection of quotes from Filipino celebrities, leaders and politicians supporting the Heat.
Doesn't everyone calling for Spoelstra's firing during the lower valleys of the season feel kind of silly now? Not only did the guy actually get us to the finals, but he also gained our team an entire nation of fans.
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