The Mambas enter week 10 looking to repeat and continue their Dynasty. Standing in their way this week were 4 other teams stacked with a bunch of sub players with 4 regulars not able to play this week for various injuries and illness’. We pray that everyone gets better soon but until then would a new champion emerge? The Mambas did what they did last week and continued their winning ways, rattling off 4 wins before the final game of the night. Earlier in the night, the Legends who were down 5-3 to the Soldiers, got a deep look away 3 from superstar Saleem Qureshi to tie it up. One of the biggest shots of GBBL this year, everyone in the gym witnessed it and was in awe. With the Legends gaining an additional point due to the tie, the final round robin game pitted the Mambas vs. the Soldiers. A win by the Soldiers would punch their ticket to the finals; a loss would send the Legends through. With the Legends cheering hard for the Mambas, they did not disappoint and beat the Soldiers 7-4. With that, week 10’s finals would showcase the Legends vs. the Mambas.
The Mambas returned all 5 guys from last week’s championship run and were led by Captain Umar Ilyas. Joining Umar were shooters Zahid Merchant and Fahad Ilyas. Rounding out the championship team were big men Tabish Khan and Uzair Munda. On the other side, the Legends were captained by Mohammed Kala. This was Mo’s first attempt at captaining a team in GBBL this year but was far from his first time leading a team. Mo has led multiple teams in BSL and BSL Nights and has led those teams to championships and was looking to cross over his success from softball to basketball. Mo wasted no time and drafted superstar Saleem Qureshi. Saleem has consistently been one of the top players in this league but was still looking for his first championship this year. Going the substitution way, Mo drafted one of the better all-around players in GBBL in Zain Malik. Rounding out the team, Mo drafted Riyad Ramjaun and Hamid Malik. On paper, the Legends looked like a formidable team, but as we all know, anything can happen in the finals. The teams met in this week’s first game and went down to the wire with the Mambas winning 7-6.
This week’s finals was a defensive minded game, with both teams locking each other down and scoring was coming at a premium. The Legends got Zain involved early and he took advantage of switches that caused mismatches and put up 2 points, while the Mambas countered with Tabish and Uzair tying things up. With little to no time left on the clock in the 2nd half, Hamid got a big bucket and put the Legends up by 1. With under 20 seconds left, the Mambas went back to their captain and Umar Ilyas ensured his team would not go down without a fight and hit a big bucket to send the game into overtime. In the OT, Hamid and Uzair traded buckets. Riyad (who temporarily had to leave the game to attend to a bleeding hand) quickly returned and with a taped-up hand got a big block on Fahad with 1 minute left, while leading the team in rebounds. With the ball, the Legends went back to their superstar, and with 13 seconds left, Saleem hit a big basket to put the Legends back up by 1. With the foul rule in effect, the Mambas sent Zain Malik to the line; unfortunately, Zain was gassed and missed both FT’s giving the Mambas one last chance. The play went to Uzair who went for his turnaround jumper, but a miss with 2 seconds left gave the league a new champion, as Mo and his Legends squad took the win 5-4.
The win gave GBBL stalwarts Saleem, Riyad & Hamid their first championship of the year and the boys in blue will look to defend their title next week. With only 4 weeks left, there will definitely be movement in the standings; who will stand tall when it’s all said and done? Tune in next week Youngbloods!