Iran to play Gilas minus old stars
Gilas Pilipinas will be facing a different Iran side when the two Asian rivals meet in a pair of tuneup games.
The Iranians arrived here in Manila on Friday night without six of their mainstays including their dominant center Hamed Haddadi, versatile swingman Nikkhah Bahrami, heady point guard Mehdi Kamrani and sharpshooter Hamed Afagh.
Haddadi is still part of the national team lineup but has already been ruled out of the scrimmages against Gilas Pilipinas due to “personal” reasons while Bahrami, Kamrani and Afagh are not part of the roster, according to Iran head coach Dirk Bauermann.
“He (Haddadi) is still part of the team. He had some personal thing to take care of. He’s not going to come to the Philippines. Whether or not he’s going to be able to join us in China, which is where we go from here, we don’t know yet,” Bauermann told reporters on Saturday at Novotel Manila at Araneta Center in Cubao.
“Their status is they’re not playing for the team this summer because like I told you before, we were the oldest team last year in the Asian championships and we just had to find a way to give the young players an opportunity to develop and grow,” Bauermann said on the absence of Bahrami and Kamrani. “We felt this summer would be a perfect opportunity and perfect time to do that. And so far, it’s worked out pretty well.”
Bauermann said Iran is currently in the transition phase from its “golden generation” to a younger batch of players determined to continue their country’s winning tradition in basketball.
Iran is scheduled to have a closed-door scrimmage with Gilas on Tuesday at Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City before facing off again on Wednesday in front of a crowd at Araneta Coliseum.