610!!!! That’s how many days have passed since GBBL last hosted a finals game, wayyyyyyyyyyyy back in March 2020. At the time, we thought we would shut down for a few weeks and resume by April. Boy we’re we wrong. Days turned into weeks; weeks turned into months, but Masha Allah, GBBL was finally back for week 1. Season 3 kicks off with so many unknowns. How would all the returning players fair after such a long hiatus? All players have aged by 2 years and have added a few pounds to say the least. Other unknowns include GBBL welcoming 5 brand-new full-time players along with a few players who opted out of Season 2. Even with so many questions, we can all agree on one thing…. We were all glad to be back on the court.
The Ballers ended up cruising their way into the finals, however, the Soldiers ended up in a tie with the Mambas for 2nd place. Fortunately for them, the Soldiers blanked the Mambas in their final round robin meeting 7-0 and punched their ticket to the finals off of points differential. The Week 1 finals pitted the 5-1 Ballers against the 4-2 Soldiers. The Ballers, led by Captain Jav Ahmed built probably the most balanced team this week, opting for big men Awais Malik & Hamza Rustom to go along with the shooting of Zahid Merchant and the ever-crafty Omar Uddin. The Soldiers on the other hand built a strong team from top to bottom, led by Captain Adeel Qureshi. Adeel listened to all the rumors and decided on adding newcomer Jibran Waqar and pairing him with perennial GBBL All Star Baseer Yasseen. The boys in red were rounded out with big man Raheel Sadiq and GBBL OG Saoud Ramjaun. Rust definitely played a factor in this game, as the boys were all gassed by their 7th game (understandably), but still put in the maximum effort to get those elusive GUT points. Awais led the Ballers this week and quickly scored the first few baskets, while sharpshooter Zahid was able to get a floater to go down and the Ballers were quickly up 3-0. Not to be outdone, the Soldiers relied on GBBL’s newest star Jibran and were able to rally and quickly put up a 3-pointer to go along with another tough basket, and the finals were tied 3-3 at half. Unfortunately, fatigue kicked in and plays that normally would be good clean plays, ended up being wilder and more out of control and the foul flood gates opened up. There were more fouls called in this finals then in all of Season 2 finals combined (LOL….this may be a slight exaggeration); so much so, the scorekeepers were contemplating tracking fouls instead of points. Amongst all the melee, the Soldiers would take a temporary lead, with Baseer and Raheel attacking the boards.
Down 1, the Ballers decided to take over and turned to their Gentle Giant, Hamza. Hamza had the soft touch around the basket and drained 2 buckets to give the boys in white the lead for good. The Soldiers tried their best, but a last second 3-pointer by Captain Adeel fell short, and with that, the Baller become the first GBBL champs in over 600 days. The real question though remains the same as years past; can this team sustain the competition and attempt to get that elusive Dynasty? Stay tuned for week 2 YoungBloods.