What up YoungBloods. Unfortunately, due to the Town of Milton still working on the nets at the Velodrome, we were forced to adjust on the fly again, and moved to the Leisure center instead, with a start time of 10:30pm. With such a late start, we had a few notable people drop out this week last minute, while others were rejoicing that they could eat dinner in peace and then come out to play. This week featured the Soldiers attempting to complete the Dynasty 3-peat and become the 1st (and only) team to Dynasty in season 2 so far. With so much on the line, the action was fast and physical as everyone did what they could to stop the Dynasty from happening.
The commissioner made his return as captain after a long while and decided to build his team mainly on sub players coming into the week. Umar “King” Khan was a no brainer choice for Jav, but many are beginning to question whether this year’s Umar is no longer the dominating player he was last year. Rust has played a factor for him and Jav was hoping that the rust had finally been shaken off to solidify his team. Hamza has adjusted himself well to GBBL and is showing signs of another breakout candidate with his size and soft touch around the rim. Rounding out the Mambas this week were Adil Merchant (a regular sub) and the legend himself, Mo “Mamba” Kala was making his debut for GBBL. Mo is a league sponsor since day 1 and has always kept tabs on the ongoing activities of GBBL, so it was fitting he finally made his debut. The Mambas started off strong going 2-1 in the first 3 games, as Jav and Umar were playing well off each other and hitting bucket after bucket. Unfortunately, the Mambas dropped their next 2, which meant that the best they could do was a .500 record. Usually, a .500 record would get you in, but with every single team getting at least 2 wins this week, you would need more than just a .500 record to get into the playoffs. The Mambas had all the pedigree to dethrone the Soldiers, but were not given the chance, and instead sat around looking on and wondering what could have been.
Adeel Q’s Legends
Typically, GBBL weekly drafts occur at 10pm Monday nights. This week, we were able to get a few GBBL’ers to put down their PS4 controllers and draft a team (smh). Adeel decided to go big on this night and took big man Raheel to compliment his own shooting capabilities. With a lethal shooter and rebounding machine, the next logical choice was to compliment both those players with mid-range and defensive experts Umar, Shahzad and Fahad. Initially, this team was looked upon as the team to beat on the night, until the time change happened. With the late start, Fahad was not able to make the game, leaving the Legends with 4 players and no subs. Even without the 5th player, the Legends came into the week as favorites. After winning game 1, the Legends were up big time on the Ballers, with a 6-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Ballers never say die attitude kicked in, and went on a 7-0 run and handed the Legends a loss that would prove costly for the rest of the night. 3 straight losses followed by 2 wins to end the night gave the boys in blue 3 wins, but was not enough, as the 2 teams that played the finals had the extra point from a tie. Had the Legends finished the Ballers in that epic loss, they would have been playing the finals, instead of going back home to play more Call of Duty.
Captain Hamid came into the week with a bad cold/flu, but like the warrior he is, he came home, played with the kid, had dinner, napped for an hour, popped some pills and was ready to go. A last-minute crushing blow was the time change on the night (are you starting to see a pattern here?) which forced Hamid’s 1st overall pick, Archie to miss the game. Just as it seemed like all hope was lost, Hamid was blessed with a returning Awais to replace Archie and the Ballers were back in business. Completing the team on the night was Mustafa, Riyad and Hummaad, which on paper, was a deadly team. The Ballers faced the defending champ Soldiers in game 1 and a last-minute bucket by Awais gave them the tie. Momentum shifted to the Ballers in game 2, as they were down 6-0 and completed one of the biggest comebacks in GBBL history. Big 3’s by Awais and Riyad helped complete the comeback and the Ballers were in business. Dropping the next game, to the Mambas, the last game of the night was a rematch between the Mambas and Ballers. Unknowing to anyone, the Ballers needed to win this game and Hummaad stepped up and hit 2 big shots to send the Ballers to the finals. With a rematch against the Soldiers (a game they tied), the finals would be a physical affair no one wanted to miss.
The Soldiers came into this week attempting to complete the Dynasty and captain Arif was taking no chances. Rumor has it, he created his own WhatsApp group and told his players what they could and could not eat during the week leading up to the big game. With so much prep work being done by the captain, the Soldiers came into the week knowing they had the biggest target on their backs but were confident in their play and abilities. Game 1 was a tie with the Ballers, but the Soldiers found their groove and went on a 21-4 scoring run (WTH?!?!) and rattled off 3 straight wins. Sharshooter Zahid and big man Baseer have established themselves as a true dynamic duo as they complement each other well and play off each other amazingly. With Baseer setting the proper screen, Zahid can either get open for his deadly shot, or throw it back in to one of his big men to get the easy bucket. Everything was rolling, until the Soldiers played the Wolves and Legends in the final 2 games. With 2 losses to end the night, it came down to the extra point they received from game 1 earlier in the night; the Soldiers had taken the last step required in becoming the 1st Dynasty of season 2 and were off to the finals against the ever dangerous Ballers.
Speaking of putting down the PS4 controller, Adeel’s COD partner from GBBL, Siad, decided it was time to drop the controller and take control of his own fate in week 7, and captained his first team ever. Siad has been a league regular starting at the end of season 1 and knew enough about all the guys to properly choose his team, as evident in his 1st round pick Saleem. Saleem came into the night as hot as ever (shooting wise, looks wise, we’ll leave that to the single ladies out there to decide), as he was not missing during the pre-game shootaround. Unfortunately, if you know Saleem; during shootaround, he’ll never miss, and empties the tank before the actual game, but on this night, he was hoping to reverse that curse. The Wolves proceeded to add Osama to the team and with 2 bigs and a quality shooter, Siad filled out the roster with defensive stoppers/mid-range stars Zeed and Neal. Once again, due to the timing change on the night, the Wolves would be short 1 man, as Neal could not make the game. With 4 quality guys, the boys in grey would not go down without a fight. Unfortunately, the night started off rough as the Wolves dropped their first 3 games before taking the next 2 from quality teams in the Ballers and Soldiers. In the last game, the Wolves would run out of gas and loss to the Mambas. With only 2 wins on the night, the Wolves would not make a finals appearance; and in the words of COD, captain Siad would tell his team “Mission Failed: We’ll Get Em Next Time”.
WEEK 7 FINALS – BALLERS vs. SOLDIERS
Week 7 finals would showcase the 2 teams that started week 7, with the Ballers facing off against the Soldiers. The boys in Red were used to this, as they had appeared in the last 2 finals and heading towards Dynasty status. Not to be outdone, the Ballers had 5 guys who had all gone to the finals a combined 10 times this year, so they were ready for the task at hand. With everyone sticking back to watch this final, the crowd was firmly in the Ballers corner, as no one wanted to see the Soldiers Dynasty. The game was an ode to old school 80’s basketball, as we have not seen a more physical game in a long time. Awais started things off for the Ballers, hitting 2 quick 3’s putting the boys in white up by 4. After a quick bucket by Baseer to cut the lead to 4-1, the physicality took center stage. Riyad took a hard elbow to the eye and went down in a heap, while Arif and Adil were getting abused down low. Riyad would be forced to sub off the rest of the half, while Omar would have to come in to allow captain Arif to recoup a bit himself. With the score 4-1 at half, the Soldiers came out firing in the 2nd half. A couple of quick baskets by GUT MVP candidate Zahid and his partner in crime Baseer, the Soldiers were now up 2 with a few minutes left. On the verge of becoming a Dynasty, Mustafa stepped up and momentarily broke the hearts of the boys in red and hit a big time 3 to tie the game and send it to OT. In OT, the physicality continued, with Riyad and Arif getting tangled up on more than 1 occasion and both guys hitting the floor hard. Captain Hamid had done a phenomenal job defensively on Zahid for the most part, but he was able to get loose momentarily, and hit another big 3 to put the Soldiers up 2. With the intentional foul rule in effect, Zahid was sent back to the line, and as usual, made 1 and missed 1. Up 3, the Ballers intentionally fouled Baseer (with 2 seconds left and down 2 possessions, this made no sense), and with that, ran out of time. It took 7 weeks into season 2, but we finally have our 1st Dynasty of the year. The boys in red earned much more than just Dynasty status or more GUT points, they earned the right to come off captain Arif’s diet and feast LOL. All jokes aside, the Soldiers played a team game from start to finish for 3 weeks and are completely deserving of Dynasty status; kudos to the boys in red for a great run.
Week 8 will be a fresh new start for GBBL, as all 5 teams will be brand new with 5 new captains. With only 1 more game before the Christmas break, which team will enter the 2-week layoff with a win under their belt and pondering how to repeat as champions come January. The Dynasty Soldiers meanwhile will enjoy their time in the spotlight and will look to add to their own individual spotlights with new teammates (maybe? maybe not?) next weeK. On a more serious note, our brother in arms, Shehryar, will be forced to the IR for at least the next 2 months due to the devastating injury he suffered last week on his shoulder. Our prayers are with Sherry and praying for a speedy recovery from his injury; this is a big loss for GBBL, but knowing Sherry, he'll be back in no time, ready to ball out like only he can.