Spoelstra leads Yolanda youth survivors in Heat homecourt tour

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MANILA -- Instead of going straight to work Saturday morning (Manila time), Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra went out of his way to spend time with young Filipino athletes first.


The Filipino-American Spoelstra spearheaded the once-in-a-lifetime tour of the American Airlines Arena in Miami for 16 young athletes from the Typhoon Yolanda-stricken towns in the Philippines.

Spoelstra’s mother hails from San Pablo City, Laguna.

The young coach has been actively involved in fundraising efforts for the survivors of Yolanda since last year, even starring in a Public Service Announcement for Unicef.

In photos posted on Miami Heat’s official Instagram page, the kids, who donned in Filipino colored-shirts had smiles plastered on their faces and were greeted by coach “Spo” before the Heat’s game against the Grizzlies.

The young Filipinos also got a grand tour of the AAA, whose walls are decorated with photos of the special moments in the Heat’s recent championships, before interacting with the biggest hoop stars like LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade during the pre-game warm-ups.

The tour, which will also take the delegation to Washington DC for basketball clinics, was in partnership with the US State Department where Spoelstra served as an envoy to the Philippines in 2009.

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