MANILA, Philippines – Filipino special athlete Raymond Macaspac, fondly called “Big Mac,” shone when he participated in the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Games in New Orleans during the NBA All-Star Weekend.
“Big Mac” was part of the East Team, wherein he teamed up with NBA legends Dikembo Mutombo and Ron Harper along with some WNBA stars and special athletes from China, Egypt and the United States.
Macaspac is a mentally challenged special child, with an IQ below 70. But he is a gifted basketball player, even leading the Philippines to a gold medal in the Asia Pacific Special Olympics.
Macaspac was included in the starting five of the East Team and even scored the first points of the game, showing confidence every time he touched the ball. He also joined the three-point shootout at halftime.
The East Team was coached by rookies Michael Carter Williams of Philadelphia and Trey Burke of Utah.
Macaspac and Team East wound up triumphant in the game.
“Ito na po pinakamagandang experience ng buhay ko,” ‘Big Mac’ said after the game.
Even the NBA legends were proud of Macaspac’s performance.
“He played very well. This is a great moment for him and I’m very happy for him,” Mutombo said.
“He has great moves and he’s a hard worker,” added Harper.
Louie Aquino, Macaspac’s coach in the Philippine Special Olympic team, is proud of what his player was able to achieve in the All-Star Weekend.
“Sigurado ako na tataas pa ang kumpyansa niya after nito,” Aquino said. “Sana pag na-share niya ito sa teammates niya, lalo din sila ma-i-inspire.” -- Report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News.