03 April 2015

Kamrani Set To Join Bolts?

Mahdi Kamrani with Bolts
After securing the services of 6-foot-4 Andre Emmett for the PBA Governor's Cup, Meralco Bolts were hard-pressed to find a complementary Asian import. One of those being closely considered and may be signed very soon is Iranian national player Mahdi Kamrani.

Their is only one hitch and it doesn't involved possible underhanded moves from Barangay Ginebra, like they did to Michael Dunnigan - Kamrani's pregnant wife may not be able to join him.

"We’ve been talking to him (Kamrani) for awhile. And only last week, we were able to finalize everything, but now it depends on his wife’s pregnancy," Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo told online sports site Spin.ph.

The soft-spoken Meralco executive said Kamrani wouldn’t want to risk traveling with his pregnant wife. However, in the event the star point guard’s wife gets the green light from the doctors to travel, Kamrani is expected to be a major addition to Meralco's shallow backcourt.

"We got a guarantee from him that when he comes in (to the PBA), he will play for us, that’s the word from the agent," added Trillo.

Under the novel plan pushed by league chairman Patrick Gregorio, the league will give all 12 teams the option to hire Asian cagers no taller than 6-foot-3 outside of their regular imports in the season's final conference.

The top eight teams after the Commissioner’s Cup will be allowed to get imports with a 6-5 celing, while the bottom four will be given the leeway to tap imports regardless of height. All Asian players will be part of the 16-man pool of each team but will not be paid more than the US$10,000 salary cap.

Filipino basketball fans should be very familiar with the six-foot Kamrani, who played alongside giant Hamed Haddadi in the Iran team that beat Gilas Pilipinas, 85-71, in the gold medal game of the 2013 Fiba-Asia men's championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 32-year-old Iranian star is coming off a 35-game stint with the Jiangsu Tongxi in the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 16.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists.

He should be a welcome addition to Meralco's backcourt, which is led veteran playmaker Mike Cortez, with youngsters Anjo Caram and Simon Atkins serving as back-ups.

Fil-Am Jared Dillinger also does the playmaking chores from time to time, though he’s expected to be out for a while after sustaining a partial tear on his left MCL (medial collateral ligament) during the team’s quarterfinal match against NLEX last week.

Should Kamrani join the Bolts, Trillo said Meralco could significantly improve its chances for the Governors Cup title since he’ll be pairing up with incoming import Emmett, who is coming off a successful season in the NBA D-League. The noted scorer for the Fort Wayne Ants was recently named the All-Star MVP.

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