Blackwater eyes Palestine’s ‘Gilas killer’ Imad Qahwash as Asian import

A familiar face in Palestinian point guard Imad Qahwash joined Blackwater’s Monday morning practice at the SGS gym, fanning speculations that the 29-year-old FIBA-Asia veteran campaigner is set to reinforce the Elite as their Asian import for the PBA Governors Cup.

Qahwash arrived in Manila on Sunday afternoon as a guest of Blackwater board governor Silliman Sy. He was accompanied by team manager Johnson Martinez Sunday evening to watch Game 4 of the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup, which Rain or Shine won handily, 124-99, against San Miguel to march to the Finals.

“Naki-practice lang siya with the team this morning, gusto niya lang magpapawis,” Martinez told FOX Sports on Monday.

Asked if the Elite intend to pursue the Palestinian playmaker, who averaged 11.9 points, 6.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals in last year’s FIBA-Asia cage joust, Martinez didn’t give a direct response.

“No serious talks with Imad, though kami as a team, kailangan din namin ng isa pang point guard to help Mike Cortez and Raffy (Reyes),” explained the Blackwater executive, who accompanied Qahwash in practice.

“Pero meron siyang pasa at shooting sa nakita ko sa practice. Though sa pukpukan na laro, di pa natin makita kasi light lang naman naging practice namin kanina,” he added.

Listed at 6-2, Qahwash, who polished his skills in Canada before eventually playing for McNeese State and Central Arkansas in the US NCAA, banged in 17 points during Palestine’s famous 75-73 win over Gilas Pilipinas in Changsa.

Last season, the Elite tried to tap Qahwash when the PBA introduced the Asian import for the first time in the season-ending conference.

But the sweet-shooting Palestinian guard failed to secure the necessary documents in time to prove he’s a natural-born Palestinian.

For the moment, Martinez said they are keeping the communication lines open with Qahwash should they decide to bring him in as Blackwater’s Asian import.

Qahwash is fresh from a stint with the Sahmen Mashad in the Iran Super League last year, where he averaged 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

He also had stint with the Jiangsu Dragons in the Chinese Basketball Association in 2013, as well as Aquimisa Tormes in Spain in 2014. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava