MERALCO has come to terms with Iran national player Mahdi Kamrani to be the Bolts’ Asian reinforcement for the PBA Governors Cup, but the plan now hangs in the balance after the star point guard learned that his wife is pregnant.
“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 Spin.ph.
The soft-spoken Meralco executive said Kamrani wouldn’t want to risk traveling with his pregnant wife.
However, in the event the cerebral 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.
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 Andre Emmett.
The 6-foot-4 Emmett is coming off a successful season in the NBA D-League where he was recently named the All-Star MVP. Emmett, a noted scorer, played for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.