THREE-TIME Fiba Asia men’s championship MVP Hamed Haddadi is one of the players KIA Motors is looking at as the expansion team begins its seach for an import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup set to start on January 27.
The 7-foot-2 Iranian center has proved to be a thorn in the side of Gilas Pilipinas in international competitions and KIA now hopes he can bring his act to the local pro league for the first time.
“Kung available si Haddadi, bakit hindi, eh dati rin naman siyang naglaro sa NBA,” Capacio said on Friday of the Iran star, who had stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns in five seasons in the NBA.
KIA, at 1-9 (win-loss), is on course to finishing among the tailenders in the Philippine Cup and will likely be given the right to tap an import of unlimited height in the Commissioner's Cup.
Capacio, the chief assistant of playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, said they intend to tap the help of former Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, who led Iran to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with the 29-year-old Haddadi as the cornerstone of his team.
“Kaya gusto naming humingi ng tulong din kay coach Rajko since mas marami siyang alam. Siyempre dun na kami sa pinakamalaki (na import), kasi kulang din kami sa scoring, rebounding and defense so yun ang hinahanap namin,” Capacio said.
Haddadi is currently playing for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association.
But should the plan to tap Haddadi fail to pan out, Capacio hopes to bring in a European import instead.
“Gusto sana namin (if not Asian), eh yung European import kasi mas sanay sila sa sistema at di masyadong one-on-one,” added the 50-year-old Capacio.