PH is top NBA follower outside US, China

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 19 2012 11:06 PM | Updated as of Jun 20 2012 09:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is the top NBA follower in social networking sites Facebook and Twitter outside the US and China.

According to Forbes.com, the Philippines has the greatest number of basketball fans following the NBA on social media platforms.

The Philippines has the most number of Facebook followers of the NBA, topping Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and France.

The country also ranks as the No. 1 NBA follower on Twitter. Indonesia ranks No. 2, followed by Brazil, the United Kingdom and India.

Forbes said approximately 278 million fans follow the NBA on social networking sites.

Basketball remains the most popular sport in the Philippines.

Even the country’s pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao is an avid basketball fan.

Spoelstra remembers Pinoy fans

When told about the NBA’s immense popularity in the Philippines, Miami Heat’s Filipino-American coach Erik Spoelstra couldn’t help but smile.

“I had my family over here last night from the Philippines. The one thing about the Philippines is they are rabid basketball fanatics, and it's been that way for a while. They've been following us now for the last couple years as well,” he said.

Spoelstra admits he is now faced with the tough job of steering the Heat to its first title win since it assembled its “big 3” of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

But Spoelstra said he has already adjusted with the pressures of his job.

“When I first got the job, it was nowhere near what it was last summer or two summers ago. I was probably uncomfortable for the first two or three weeks of it, and then you adjust quickly, and this becomes the world. Honestly now I don't think it bothers any one of us,” said the only Filipino-American NBA coach.

Also a big factor in their successes is the respect between Spoelstra and reigning MVP James.

“I didn't know him, he didn't know me our first month together. And now we're still growing each and every day, but our trust factor is great. I mean, he trusts me on the floor to do things, you know, and that's great,” said the player known as “King James.”

“As a player, you feel confident when your coach allows you to make changes on the fly, and I have the utmost respect for him for allowing me to have that responsibility, where if I see something on the floor, I can just go with it, and I know I'm doing it for the best of the team, and he gives me that leeway. So trust is the number one thing,” James added. -- With a report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News