MANILA, Philippines — Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, a Filipino-American, released a public service announcement with UNICEF on Wednesday, November 13, asking people to help with typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines.
Spoelstra’s mother hails from the San Pablo, Laguna, and the Heat coach has visited her homeland several times in recent years. Last Friday, the Visayas region was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), killing thousands, displacing hundreds of thousands and leaving enormous numbers of Filipinos homeless, hungry and thirsty.
“Devastation caused by the recent typhoon in the Philippines has been catastrophic and millions of children have been impacted,” Spoelstra said in the PSA, which was taped as he stood on the court where the Heat play home games.
Earlier this week, the NBA and the NBA Players Association have donated US$250,000 (about P10.5M) to the US Fund for UNICEF in support of UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts. The Heat also combined with Carnival Corporation to pledge at least $1 million to the effort; the team is owned by Micky Arison, who also chairs Carnival’s board.
In addition, the Heat also held a moment of silence for those lost and affected by the storm before their game Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
In closing the PSA, the two-time NBA champion coach said a heartfelt “Thank you” and “Maraming salamat po,” which is Filipino for “Thank you very much.”