THREE key players of Iran won't be around when it goes up against Team Pilipinas in the final game of the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
A copy of the Iran roster obtained by SPIN.ph showed an 18-man pool submitted to FIBA that doesn't include big man Hamed Haddadi, big guard Samad Nikkah Bharami, and Arsalan Khazemi.
Also not on the lineup was Saijid Masheyaki.
Coach Yeng Guiao said the coaching staff has heard about the absence of the four veteran players, but could not confirm it as of Sunday evening.
"Balita yes, but I don't know if that's confirmed," said the national coach after practice Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. "Kami narinig lang namin."
Just the same, Guiao said the national team practiced the past few days under the premise that Haddadi and Co. will be around.
"Naghanda pa rin kami na nandiyan sila," he added.
The 7-foot-2 Haddadi has not played in Iran's last two qualifiers - including last Friday's loss to Australia in Melbourne - and played just 59 seconds in their home match with Team Pilipinas last September.