Iran star bolsters Bolts as Govs’ Cup tips off | Inquirer Sports

Iran star bolsters Bolts as Govs’ Cup tips off

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 10:50 PM July 14, 2016

 MOHAMMAD Jamshidi. PBA IMAGES


MOHAMMAD Jamshidi. PBA IMAGES

MOHAMMAD Jamshidi, the sleek Iranian off-guard many see as the next Asian star, makes his PBA debut with the Meralco Bolts today when they clash with Phoenix Petroleum at the start of the Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Said to be the heir apparent to Nikka Bahrami in the Iranian national five, Jamshidi should be a welcome treat to local fans with his style as he joins hands with bull-strong Allen Durham in trying to lead the Bolts to a first league championship.

Tip-off is at 4:15 p.m.

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Star welcomes back Marqus Blakely as the Hotshots slug it out with the Mahindra Enforcers in the second game at 7 p.m.

Meralco, Mahindra, Blackwater, NLEX, Phoenix and Tropang TNT are the only teams that signed up Asian imports, with the Fuel Masters parading South Korean Lee Gwan-hee together with Marcus Simmons against the Bolts.

None of the Asian imports, though, are as promising as Jamshidi, a familiar thorn on the side of the Gilas Pilipinas national five—something Meralco coach Norman Black obviously saw while assisting Tab Baldwin in past international events.

Jamshidi joins Meralco in top shape, having played for Iran in the recent Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin, Italy. He planed in yesterday.

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“We’ll play him (today),” Black said of Jamshidi. “Though maybe not that much, but we’ll play him. He’s very excited coming over here, wanting to learn the (Meralco) system and the PBA (brand of play).

Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge, rookie Chris Newsome and Reynel Hugnatan will be the main locals for the Bolts, who are also hoping to get some major minutes from the oft-injured Jimmy Alapag.

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Meralco is coming off a Final Four stint in the Commissioner’s Cup where it lost to Alaska. It was the farthest the Bolts have gone since joining the PBA four years ago.

“I’m excited about the team,” Black told the Inquirer over the phone. “I think for the first time, we have some (title) aspirations coming into a tournament.”

The game is also significant for the Fuel Masters, who will be handled for the first time by Ariel Vanguardia.

Phoenix has had a transformation, helped in no small measure by the acquisition of the veteran Cyrus Baguio from a trade with Alaska on Wednesday.

Former Letran star Mark Cruz, Simon Enciso, Norbert Cruz, Prince Caperal, Mark Borboran, John Wilson and Jonathan Uyloan are the other newcomers for Phoenix.

Vanguardia orchastrated many changes after JC Intal injured his knee and was practically ruled out of the conference.

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“We think that Cyrus has at least two to three good years left,” Vanguardia said.

TAGS: Basketball, Meralco Bolts, MOHAMMAD Jamshidi, PBA Governors' Cup

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