Whats up YoungBloods and welcome back!! Week 4 would see GBBL’s 1st attempt at a Dynasty as the Legends were aiming for that 3rd consecutive win. With the Dynasty attempt, the Legends also found themselves with the biggest target on their backs heading into the week but bringing back all 5 players from last week was a great start at 3-peating. While the Legends were going for the Dynasty, the remaining 4 franchises were looking to become the first NON-BLUE team to win a championship in season 2 and begin their own attempt at a Dynasty. With 5 regulars absent this week, captains had to dig deep in the Sub list and see if they could find that diamond in the rough to lead their team to victory.
Tabish captained the Mamba’s this week and built himself a super strong team from top to bottom, all while taking spy pics on the GO Train (taking pics of Riyad and messaging “I see youuuuu” lol). Big man Raheel has really come into form over the past 4 weeks and is beginning to look like the unstoppable force many of us thought he was going to be entering the season. Rounding out the Mamba’s, Tabish went “All in the Family” and took cousin Sherry and brothers Fahad and Umar to ensure everyone was on the same page when they began playing. Game 1 pitted the Mamba’s against the Soldiers in a close back and forth affair, losing a heartbreaker by 1. That’s when Raheel said enough is enough and took over. The big man willed his team to 4 straight wins following that loss to the tune of 25-13 over the 4 games, including a drubbing of the Ballers (7-1) in their 4th game of the night. Fahad and Umar both bounced back after lackluster games last week and hit big shot after big shot. Gassed after playing the Direwolves in the 5th game, the final game of the night saw the Mamba’s run out of gas, as the Ballers took the revenge game 5-2 to close out the round robin. With a record of 4-2, the Mamba’s had punched their ticket into the finals, and would have them face the Ballers a 3rd time on the night for this week’s championship.
It’s been 3 weeks and captain Hamid has been able to build himself and maintain a solid team, going for the elusive Dynasty title. Season 1 produced only 1 Dynasty team, so a team attempting to do so by Week 4 this season was a big deal. Unfortunately, with the title in their grasps, this also produced the biggest target on the backs of the boys in blue. Seeing how all 5 guys have been champions this year, along with 4 of the guys tasting additional championships in softball only a month ago, the Legends had the pedigree to continue their winning ways. Unfortunately, the Legends let the weather get the better of them and mimicked it, as they came out ice cold to start the week. 4 straight losses (including beat downs at the hands of the Direwolves and Soldiers) all but eliminated the Legends as they played their final 2 games of the night. The team seemed out of sync the whole night, with easy missed buckets and not hitting wide open shooters for the shot, sunk the Legends. Hamid did what he could on this week and was determined to finish the week strong and rallied the troops to win their last 2 games. If you don’t win, the next best thing is to play spoiler and the Legends win against the Soldiers bumped them from contention this week. It was a fantastic run to start the season, but it’ll be nice to see these boys in a different color starting in 2 weeks.
Mustafa had the 1st overall pick and unknown to most of the league, he decided to go with a sub as his #1 pick, in Uzair Munda. Uzair was tabbed as a legend back in the day in Meadowvale, but a devastating knee injury would place him as a wildcard this week. Had he recovered enough to play at the level Mustafa knew he could, or was he another Penny Hardaway and would never be the same player he once was? Building on Uzair, Mustafa proceeded to build his team with hustle and heart guys Shahzad, Siad and Jav. Shahzad has really blossomed into something amazing this year (not to mention the great looking yellow headband). He may not be the biggest or the loudest, but he will make his presence felt game in and game out. When Shahzad is outrebounding bigs like Raheel, Tabish and Awais, that further proves the determination this guy has to his game and to his team. The Ballers started the week with 2 quick wins and ran into a Buzzsaw, as they dropped their game against the Mamba’s 7-1. Righting the ship, the Ballers beat the Soldiers 2-1 (that could be the lowest scoring game ever in GBBL history) off the back of a big 3 by Jav and punched their ticket into the finals. As redemption, the final game of the night would see the Ballers beat the Mamba’s and take momentum back heading into the championship rounds, coincidentally, against the same Mamba’s.
Captain Riyad entered the week as one of the hottest shooters this year and decided that it was time to surround himself with a bunch of capable rebounders and allow him to shoot freely. Selecting season 1 vet Zain “One Direction” Malik, Riyad decided to pair himself with his softball co-GM and thought maybe if they were unsuccessful on the diamond together, maybe they would be more successful on the hardcourt. The rest of the Soldiers were made up MVP candidate Awais, newcomer Irfan and sub extraordinaire Osama. With so many big bodies, the first few games went exactly how captain RR intended. Shooting lights out, Riyad hit multiple 3’s to open up the week with 2 big wins by the Soldiers. Splitting their next 2 games, the Soldiers positioned themselves to secure a playoff spot with 1 more win. Unfortunately, the ghosts of Istanbuls past (Istanbul being Riyad & Zain’s softball team) would creep up and show its ugly face. Riyad’s shot stopped going in, Zain got hit in the eye (surprise surprise), Irfan kept getting shut out down low and Osama could not finish near the basket all led to their unravelling. Big man Awais did was he could in the last 2 games to secure a win, but a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Ballers ultimately killed any chance they had. What started out as a promising team that most pegged to win this week, a visibly upset Soldiers team could be seen on the sidelines, wishing they had 1 more game.
The newest franchise to GBBL, the Direwolves, were entering week 4 looking to make their debut in the championship rounds. Captain Omar paired himself with Big Bas Baseer and sharpshooter Adeel Q. Rounding out the Wolves this week would be Sood and Adil Merchant who was making his 2nd consecutive start for GBBL and has positioned himself as a league regular Sub. The week started off rough for the Wolves as they dropped their first game to the Soldiers but followed it up with a big win over the defending champ Legends. With momentum swung back on their side, the Wolves would be put to the test and faced a heavily favorite Mamba’s squad. Baseer did everything he could against the Mamba’s bigs, but on this night, proved that he needed more help on the rebounding side of things. Adil Merchant did what he could, hitting shot after shot, while Omar would try to suck as many defenders in to get Adeel Q his deadly shot from outside. Unfortunately, Adeel blew his load for buzzer beaters last week, and the Wolves dropped all their remaining games on the week. A noteworthy point; Sood was seen all night passing the ball as soon as he got it. A big follower of Masai Ujiri, he needs to listen to the man’s words and remember “Believe in your city; believe in yourself” and start taking those shots. A talented team from top to bottom, the Wolves have yet to make the championship rounds and after 4 weeks, remain the only team not to make it.
WEEK 4 FINALS – MAMBAS vs. BALLERS
The finals were a repeat of the game that just occurred and pitted the Mamba’s vs. the Ballers; this showcased the 1st time this season that a non-blue team was playing in the finals and ensured a new team would be crowned champs. Having split the 2 games in the round robin, this matchup would be a tightly contested matchup; on paper!!! The Mamba’s came out cold while the Ballers were as hot as ever. Siad, known back in the day as a deadly shooter, was waiting patiently for his breakout party and boy did he break out this week. 3 after 3 after 3, Siad could not miss. Coupled with Shahzad outrebounding both Raheel and Tabish (WTH?!?!), the Ballers kept their foot on the gas with timely buckets by Jav and Uzair. Uzair could be seen turning his game up a notch in the finals and we were all witnessing the most lopsided game in season 2 finals. After 6 minutes, the Ballers were now up comfortably 10-1 and were all but assured victory. The 2nd half started with more of the same as Siad hit another 3, Shahzad grabbing every rebound and captain Mustafa stepping up to hit 2 big baskets. The Mamba’s tried to make it respectable with 3’s by Shehryar and Fahad, but it was too little too late, as the Ballers cruised to a 14-5 win and claim week 4’s championship. Captain Mustafa did indeed find that diamond in the rough, and took a chance on Siad and Shahzad, and they all delivered in emphatic fashion. With the win, the commissioner (Jav) is now off the shneid and takes home his first championship of the season, while Siad now has claimed his 2nd championship.
Week 5 will now showcase a new team attempting to Dynasty as the Ballers will head into the week heavy favorites if all players return. Next week (November 19) is a bye week and we will reconvene on November 26. Take the time off to get rested, heal up any injuries you may have and refocus. Special shout out to our resident cheerleader Adeel V as he is nursing a potential serious knee injury. We pray he makes it back to the court sooner than later and pray for his health to get right. As odd as this sounds, it’s not the same without his weekly cheering (COVER YOUR MANNNN!!!). We now have 21 of the 25 regulars plus 5 of the Sub players having earned at least 1 GUT point and the intensity and competition is now heating up. See y’all in 2 weeks YoungBloods!!!