BLACKWATER looks to shore up its young and inexperienced backcourt by tapping Jordanian national team reserve point guard Imad Qahwash as its Asian reinforcement for the PBA Governors Cup set to start on May 5.
Qahwash, who is listed at 6-foot-2 on Fiba’s official website, played for four years for Central Arkansas, the same US NCAA school that produced NBA legend and former Chicago Bull great Scottie Pippen.
Team owner Dioceldo Sy, however, said the Elite can't bring Qahwash to Manila until a certification is issued by Fiba’s head office in Geneva, Switzerland assuring that he is, indeed, a natural-born citizen of Jordan.
As per league rules, naturalized players are barred from being hired as Asian imports. Only Asian players who are Fiba eligible, will be allowed to play in the season-ending third conference.
“Si Imad has the same manager as (Mehdi) Kamrani and Hamed Haddadi (two of Iran’s superstars) and both Imad’s parents are Jordanian,” Sy told Spin.ph on Tuesday.
The businessman-sportsman said Qahwash’s parents were forced to migrate to Canada at the height of a political upheaval in Jordan.
Qahwash was eventually born in Kitchener, Canada.
Qahwash, who turns 28 next week, averaged 12.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists as a senior in Central Arkansas in 2011 where he played a total of 29 games.
He also saw action for Ukraine in the AeroSvitz Cup, before suiting up for the Jiangsu Dragons in the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 5.7 points, 2.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds, before playing for Lions Jindrichuv Hradec in Czech Republic last year.
Qahwash also played for the Jordanian All-Stars in the 2008 Brunei Cup.
Sy said the team will just have to wait for Fiba’s official communication with the PBA before bringing him over.
The Elite, who relies on rookie guard Brian Heruela and backup playmakers Rafi Reyes and Chris Timberlake in the backcourt, tumbled out of the Commissioner’s Cup after piling up a woeful 3-8 record.
Overall, the Elite are 3-19 for the season, including a winless campaign in the Philippine Cup.