Iranian giant almost pays the price
By Abac Cordero Updated Sunday August 11, 2013 - 12:00am

Hamed Hadadi

MANILA, Philippines - Hamed Hadadi wasn't supposed to see action in Iran's quarterfinals match against Jordan the other day at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Iran would've beaten Jordan even without him. Hadadi was supposed to rest.

But the 7-foot-2 NBA veteran was told of the presence of an NBA scout in the arena, and so he opted to play.

Hadadi played so hard and tried to impress. In 25 minutes he scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.

Iran crushed Jordan, 94-50.

But Hadadi almost paid the price when he suffered from cramps in the closing minutes. For a while it looked like he had injured his right leg.

Hadadi got up and held on to a teammate as he walked toward the bench.

His teammate, Mahdi Kamrany, said they were aware of the presence of the NBA scout, Gary Boyson, and said Hadadi tried "to impress."

The 28-year-old Hadadi, who played for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Phoenix Suns from 2008 until last year, still wants to play in the NBA.

Hadadi is a free agent and reports said he is being eyed by the New York Knicks.

Boyson, who watched at ringside, spoke to Filipino reporters and said he's looking at no particular player in this FIBA-Asia Championship.

"We're just evaluating everybody," he said.

"It could be a free agent or keeping track of the young international players who are under-22. We want to track them," Boyson added.

The NBA scout almost couldn't believe his eyes when China, the 2011 champion, was upset by Chinese-Taipei in the quarterfinals.

"Look at what happened here. This is a mass of upset. So anything is possible," he said.

Boyson did not say if there was any Filipino player that has caught his attention.

"Hopefully - we're keeping track of everybody," he said.

It's time to impress.      



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Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ MOA Arena
5:45 PM - Semifinal Round
Iran vs Chinese Taipei
8:00 PM - Semifinal Round
Philippines vs Korea