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Former NBA players, tough teams see action in FIBA Asia Champs Cup

May 17, 2011 1:26am

Members of the Pilipinas-Smart Gilas team looking to experience tougher international games will definitely get them in the coming FIBA Asia Champion’s Cup.

National team coach Rajko Toroman admitted to GMA News that the best club teams in Asia, particularly in the Middle East, will be participating in this 10-team cast.

“Iran will be bringing in some of the members of its national team as well as Lebanon," said Toroman. “There will be NBA players playing in the tournament as well as some of the best players in the region. This is going to be a tough, tough tournament."

Samaki Walker, a member of the 2001-2002 Los Angeles Lakers champion teams, will be one among the notable NBA players seeing action in the tournament along with Loren Woods, who spent seven years playing in the NBA and suited up for four different teams.

Walker will be one of the two imports of Al Jalaa, which went undefeated in the Syrian Basketball League.

The 6-foot-9 Walker will be joined in the team by Jamaal Miller, a 6-foot-2 big-time scorer who have played as import in the Middle East.

In the 2009-2010 season, he played for Antranik Beirut, a Dvision A team in Lebanon. He wound up as the second best scorer in the league 29 points per game. He transferred to Saad Sports Club the same season and averaged 35 points per game in three games.

Woods, a 7-foot-2 center, who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, averaged 14.3 points and 14.3 rebounds while playing for Al Riyadi.

But Toroman added that Fadi El-Khatib, regarded as the top local player in Lebanon and one of the best in the region, will join Al Riyadi, making the squad as instant favorite in the tournament.

Mahram, Iran’s powerhouse club team in the Super League, has added Asghar Kardoust and Hamed Afagh.

Kardoust is a 7-foot-2 player who saw action for Iran’s national team in last year’s World Basketball Championship in Turkey. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while playing in the World Basketball meet. In last year’s Asian Games in China, he came up with 12.5 points, 9.1 boards and 1.9 blocks per game.

Afagh, on the other hand, is one of the best scorers in last year’s basketball competitions in Guangzhou Asiad. The Iranian guard averaged 18.9 points, 2.4 boards, 2.1 steals and an assist per game.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios said the ninth and 10th spots will be occupied by Iraq (Duhok) and Saudi Arabia (Al Ittihad).

“They have already given their confirmation," said Barrios in a telephone interview. “Basketball fans can expect top caliber basketball in the coming Champion’s Cup." - GMA News
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