Iran will have a tough mountain to climb when it takes on Gilas Pilipinas on the road, Monday evening.
Team Melli will not have its stalwarts Hammed Haddadi, Nikkah Bahrami, Arsalan Kazemi, and Saijid Mashayekhi when it takes on a reloaded Gilas Pilipinas.
The development was confirmed by Iran head coach Mehran Shahintab.
“Nikkah is living in the United States, he couldn’t come. As you know, Haddadi has a personal reason. I heard that he signed with Xinjiang in China.”
Reports have surfaced that Haddadi is disgruntled with the way the Iranian basketball federation handled his groin injury during the fourth window.
Bahrami is averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.8 rebounds in five games played in the Qualifiers. Haddadi, on the other hand, had norms of 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Also out are Kazemi, a 6-foot-7 big man who averaged 9.4 rebounds and 7.1 points so far, and lead guard Mashayekhi, who has norms of 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per outing.
Still, Shahintab is looking to make the most with the cards dealt on them.
“We have a young team and very motivated players. They’ll try their best,” he said.
“We didn’t play our best against Australia and try to compensate with what we have,” he added.
Iran is just one game behind the Philippines with a 6-3 record. If the Iranians fall to Gilas by more than eight points, the Philippines can end up at second place in Group F to end the fifth window.