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Iran to play Gilas sans Bahrami, Haddadi

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Gilas has a good chance of beating Iran this time around.

Iran head coach Mehran Shahintab confirmed that his team will miss the services of ace gunner Nikkhah Bahrami and beanpole Hamed Haddadi for its all-important FIBA World Cup Qualifiers match against Gilas Pilipinas on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Speaking to reporters after practice on Sunday night at the said venue, Shahintab said, “Nikkhah is currently living in the United States. He couldn’t come. Haddadi has a personal reason. I heard that he signed with Xinjiang in China. He was engaged with the club.”

The absence of Bahrami, who was a key player in Iran’s win against Gilas in their previous meeting, and Haddadi, one of the top centers in Asia right now, will be a huge blow for the Iranian side that is currently in a tight battle with Gilas, Japan, and Kazakhstan for the last two outright spots in the FIBA World Cup for Group F. (PNA)