Welcome back to the party YoungBloods. This week was a special week as we had 4 subs drafting teams and boy did they deliver on the excitement. All 4 captains were regulars in season 1 and due to conflicting schedules, have settled for being part timers this year but the intensity they bring every time they step on the floor is felt across the league. We also had 8 of our regulars missing which is why we had such a high number of subs on this night. With all that being said, who comes out on top? Let’s find out…
Bilal was one of the deadliest players in the league last year. His ability to put up quick points and change the game in the blink of an eye was something we hadn’t seen much of this year. He did a great job drafting as he had the twin towers banging down low (Raheel and Osama) along with the always slick and pesky Shahzad and Adil Merchant. The Mambas started off on a low as they were shut out by the Legends in game 1, 7-0, but quickly picked up momentum with a big win in game 3 on the night against the Ballers. Playing hard all night it was evident that something was missing as the Mamba’s dropped some key games on their way to a so-so 2-4-0 record on the night. Big man Raheel was forced to the sidelines momentarily due to an ankle injury, but thankfully, was nothing serious, and he was able to come back in. There were some flashes of brilliance by Captain Bilal as he made some quick shots, drew the double team and got the pass out to a wide-open man every time. It was very impressive to watch but unfortunately, the Mambas would need more from everyone; something that didn’t happen on this night. With only 2 wins on the night, the Mambas were forced to the sidelines and failed to qualify for the big dance.
Zain built possibly one of the most well-rounded teams you’ll ever see in GBBL. The ball movement on the Legends was incredible; communication was crisp, and the defense was even better. With the first overall pick, Zain chose the most well rounded and dominant player in the league with Awais and rounded out his team with Riyad (Awais and Riyad have played together 6 out of the 10 weeks and had unbelievable chemistry throughout the night), Mo and Hamid. All 5 guys bring something different to the table but more importantly the most unselfish bunch you’ll see play together. Awais as usual was doing a lot of everything while Zain did his best Rajon Rondo impersonation and patiently waited for his guys to get into position and get good looks. Hamid felt more comfortable and was able to get some of his rhythm back while Riyad did what he does best as the dead eye shooter he is. Mo was playing injured, but he brought his championship pedigree and helped the team manage their minutes. The Legends started strong taking out the Mambas to a tone of 7-0, then the Ballers, 7-1. The Legends`s finished the night with a record of 4-1-1 along with a ridiculous point differential and were without a doubt the most dangerous team on the night.
Saleem is one of the quickest players in the league and can go off at any given moment with his speed, slick shooting and willingness to share the ball. He had the option of choosing any team color he wanted to and went with team white, the Ballers, only to show up in a beige shirt. Either it was a dirty white shirt or he’s not sure what color white is. Regardless of that confusion, he made quite the impact as his highlight of the night consisted of breaking the ankles of one of the best on ball defenders we have in Hamid, as he dropped him on his behind and then nailed a wide open 3 to extend his teams lead. In Hamid’s defense, it was the glare bouncing off Saleem’s ultra-shiny neon shoes that really blinded/dropped him. Great move, my guy; nothing but love and respect. The Ballers had quite the run as the combination of Captain Saleem, Mr. Utility man, Umar Ilyas, the ever so elusive Hamza, the mid-range queen, Sood, and the very crafty sub, Junaid. They were the only team to take down the Legends and were a nightmare to deal with as they were the quickest team in the league and were consistently hitting their shots. With their 3 wins, they were able to sneak into the finals with a point differential of 1 and face off against the high-flying Legends.
Umar K’s Soldiers
Another one of the leagues former best players was present tonight as he managed to draft a well-rounded team. King Khan hasn’t been the same player as he was last year but that doesn’t mean we can sleep on him. Deadly from outside the arc and able to take the rock to rim at will, he was the one to contain on this team. The team featured GBBL commissioner, Jay sizzle along with his new Jordan’s (those shoes were ridiculous) and big handles. He had a sick crossover move where he put Adil M in a blender and made the shot to complete his impressive display. It’s got to be those shoes man…. The Soldiers also featured big man Mustafa, sharpshooter Zayd and the newest member of the baby daddy crew, Tabish. This team had the shooters and the height to compete with anyone on the night, but a nagging groin injury prevented Jav from giving it his all. Still, the Soldiers played with heart and it came down to the very last game for them to have a chance at making the finals. They had to beat the Mambas by 6 points to cut their ticket to the finals but fell just 1 point short as they laid a beating on the Mambas, 7-2. Super-hot shot accountant Zayd wanted to audit the score but when he displayed how terrible his math skills were, we didn’t want him anywhere near the stat-sheet. True story…
The Wolves came into the night looking to dominate as they had one of the best mid-range scorers in our league in captain Archie followed by Mr. “I do a little bit of everything” Iqbal, Mr. shadow defense, Adil M, sharpshooter Hummaad and big man, Siad. On paper this team looked unstoppable, but it was a different story on this night as they barely put together 2 and a half wins. Archie as usual was relied upon heavily to put up some points while Arif did what he could as the only real facilitator on the team. Adil played some hardnosed defense (watch those hands bro, grabbing not allowed) while Siad fired away from 3-point land and Hummaad tried to get some open shots. The Wolves came close as their chances came down to their last game against the Legends. The Legends went up 4-0 in a hurry but didn’t close out the game, allowing the Wolves to slowly claw back into the game. At the end, it was too little too late as the Wolves couldn’t get past the Legends defense despite many opportunities to do so. A win would’ve secured them a finals appearance but instead they were on the sidelines score keeping for the finals. Better luck next time boys.
WEEK 10 FINALS – BALLERS vs. LEGENDS
This week’s finals featured the deadly Legends vs the lightning quick Ballers. The Legends got the party started as Awais scored on a wide-open shot thanks to a double screen by the Malik brothers. The Ballers came back with 2 quick points to go up by 1. This game was more about defense than anything else as buckets were very tough to come by. Awais had both points for the Legends as Hamza and Junaid had a 1 a piece going into the half. With the Ballers getting the ball back at half, they tried to put some distance between themselves and the Legends but the men in blue were a rock-solid unit and were incredible on their switches. No open shots, as someone always had a hand up on the shooter. With the game deadlocked at 2, Awais thought it was time to take over. He parked himself down low and scored 3 unanswered buckets all in the post giving the Legends the advantage. With time winding down, the Ballers took a few shots only to draw blanks which lead to them fouling with under 10 seconds to go. With Captain Zain at the line, he easily made both free throws while retaining position of the ball which ultimately put the game out of reach. The Legends closed out this game to a tune of 7-3 crowning them as champs for week 10. This would be the first on the year for Awais as he’s made a few trips to the finals only to fall short. He made sure he took over at the right time to see his team through and a very timely mistake on his face may have contributed to his aerodynamics. The Legends will reunite after the 2-week break in hopes of carrying on this dynasty for another couple of weeks. Congratulations Legends!!
Unfortunately, we're back on a 2 week layoff (damn you, World Cycling Championships!!!) and will reconvene the first Tuesday of February. In the meantime, as mentioned previously, the league will host a 2nd GBBL 2K tournament next week in order to raise more funds for the league's charity (Project Ramadan). The tournament will include 10 players (minimum) and running NHL. If you haven't signed up yet, please advise Jav or Riyad and we can finalize the list of players. Enjoy the time off again, heal up any injuries and enjoy the conference championships and the SuperBowl. Will see ya'll in February YoungBloods.