Philippine coaches divided on NBA Finals picks
The Miami Heat (top) and the Los Angeles Lakers start their seven-game NBA Finals series on Thursday (Manila time).
Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP
Philippine coaches divided on NBA Finals picks
John Bryan Ulanday ( - September 30, 2020 - 7:21pm

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine coaches are split like East and West in casting their picks for the heavy favorites Los Angeles Lakers and the tough underdog Miami Heat in the looming classic NBA Finals starting Thursday.

The STAR asked around 11 mentors from the pro, collegiate and national team ranks and the decision is torn between LA due to its superb talent and experience led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis opposite a rugged Miami squad built on grit behind Filipino-American pride Erik Spoelstra.

“Lakers in 5. Lakers are on a mission. They have the two best players in this series,” claimed TNT consultant and interim Gilas Pilipinas coach Mark Dickel.

“Lakers in 6. It will be a match-up problem for the Heat. Lakers have great combination as they can big and small,” added Magnolia mentor Chito Victolero.

UE coach Jack Santiago and UP head Bo Perasol are also rooting for the Lakers as long-time LA fans with coach Nash Racela still picking the Lakers despite his desire for Spoelstra to win.

As they say, blood is thicker than water, making that Spoelstra affinity and the Heat’s all-out mentality the voting factors for grand slam coaches Tim Cone of Ginebra and Meralco’s Norman Black.

“I have gone on record several times saying that the Lakers will win because of LBJ and AD. I’m hoping Miami will spring an upset because I want to see coach Spoelstra win,” said Black.

“LeBron and AD will be a load for the Heat and I think the Lakers will be heavily favored but you can’t underestimate the Heat. My heart says Miami in 7,” Cone shared.

Phoenix interim head coach Topex Robinson, TNT head coach Bong Ravena, Gilas women’s coach Pat Aquino and Gilas youth mentor Sandy Arespacochaga likewise did not deny the Lakers’ firepower as favorites but are banking on the Heat to pull it off if the duel goes the distance.

“I would go for Miami in 7. The longer the series, the better for the Heat,” said Robinson.

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