MANILA, Philippines — For Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, it was Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao who inspired his team to win the 2012 NBA Finals.
Spoelstra, a Filipino-American, said this in an interview quoted in news website Examiner.com. The coach credited Pacquiao for helping him motivate his team all season long.
“Well everybody knows I’m a Manny Pacquiao fan… There’s quite a few comparisons that our guys can relate to that sport (boxing). We got knocked down to the canvas two or three times this playoffs run, but we got up, and we kept on working,” Spoelstra said.
The Miami Heat found itself in a critical game with the Indiana Pacers during the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but gathered enough strength to bounce back and win.
Thunders thrashed them in game 1, with 104-95, but Heat owned the next 4 games to win the NBA Finals with 121-106 victory. (Read: LeBron leads Miami Heat to NBA Championship.)
Pacquiao recently lost his World Boxing Organization World Welterweight title to undefeated American Timothy Bradley via split decision. This was his first loss since 2005. (Read: Shocker: Bradley takes down Pacquiao.)
Later, a 5-member panel of judges convened and hailed Pacquiao as the real champion via unanimous vote. (Read: Pacquiao won fight, say 5 WBO judges.) – Rappler.com