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Award Winners 2014 Tuesday,Apr 1 2014

Congrats to the Award Winners:

MVP: Nafi - Bandits

Co-Mgr of Year:Sammy, Sy


TAKE TWO - Sunday,Mar 30 2014

In the most competitive finals in the history of CBL Elite, Takeover wins it over the Bandits by a score of 90-89.  Takeover outscores Bandits 13 to 5 in the final 2:17 to secure the first ever back to back titles in CBL Elite.  Mike Liander earns the Finals MVP with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and huge shots down the stretch.  Congratulations to Sammy Desai (Co-Manager of the Year) and his Team Takeover (Mike, Stef, Zo, Ibri, J, Sammay, Elijah, Waqas, Emiliano, Jabbar) for an impressive season and post season.  They certainly earned every minute of success, as they kept their head up high all season.  Zo Kareem wins the Defensive MVP award for the season.

Credit should be given to Sayem Khan (Co-Winner of Manager of the Year) of team Bandits (Nafi, Steph, Darnell, Sayem, Hussie, Sheikh, Ian, and Ant Cox) for putting together a tremendous team this season.   On this final game, his team played with great heart and emotion.  Especially Nafi (MVP of regular season), who attended the game hours removed from being hospitalized due to an illness.  May he recover soon. Meanwhile Ant Cox, Darnell, and Steph certainly showed why they are elite ballers, as they kept their team ahead for most of the night.  A shot here or there could have changed the outcome of this game in the Bandits favor. 

In these Finals we witnessed two teams who portrayed themselves with class all season and left it all on the court until the final second.  In many people’s eyes, they both are champions.  It is too bad someone had to lose.  We are sure they will be back even stronger next season. Congratulations! 

Finals Preview And Prediction Friday,Mar 28 2014

Match-up: Bandits vs. TAKEOVER

Time: 7:15 PM

Date: March 30, 2014

Place: Queens HS of Teaching

Tagline: For the CHIP!   

After all the posting, talking, hyping, and battling it out in Eastern Queens since the fall of 2013, we are ready for the Chip match.  This season has been probably the most competitive in recent history of the elite division.  For example, talented teams like Uday, Chaos, and Bearcats were eliminated. Others such as Dynasty and Mashakill couldn’t even get into the playoffs.  So let’s give credit to Takeover and Bandits for making it this far.  But knowing these two captains, getting here is NOT enough.  Sammy Desai and Takeover have tasted the feeling of a champion.  Sayem and his Bandits buddies have never been fortunate enough to be champions.  Well here is there chance. 

The community has made their predictions.  And the general consensus is that the contest will be very intense and exciting as these two talented teams are evenly matched.  On paper Takeover has to get the edge because they focus on Defense and if you look at past performance, they have handled the Bandits with relatively ease.  But as Captain Sayem has stated that was then and this is now – which makes sense.  Before we get into the head-to-head let’s assess the keys to success: 

Bandits: If the Bandits want to win this game, they need to set the tone early on the defensive side.  They have never faced a fierce defensive team like Takeover before.  We all know the Bandits can shoot and score but other than Nafi, who is their only consistent defender, the rest of the team will need to match Takeover’s intensity on defense.  On the offensive side, shots won’t come that easy since Zo will be sticking their main guy like glue and Stef will make sure Ant Cox is not comfortable.  So the X factor could be Nafi.

Takeover:  Team Takeover has a diversified game and is real deep in talent.  Their keys to success is simple, just play hard D on the Bandits perimeter players and let Mike and Zo do their thing.  Jabbar could be the X factor again, as he is very difficult to guard because of his explosiveness and deep range shooting ability.  Check out the head to head match-ups.

Head-to-Head Bandits vs. Takeover:

1 – Darnell vs. Jabbar. Darnell has superb ball handling skills and enjoys penetrating.  Sometimes due to the success of his mate Stef, he does not receive too much attention. We expect him to have a breakout game but guarding Jabbar (last season’s Finals MVP) will be tough.  Jabbar as mentioned is an explosive player who can leap higher than anyone.  Edge. TAKEOVER

2 – Ant Cox vs. Step. Mike could switch on Ant Cox but for this section we will assume it will be Steph.  Ant Cox, standing at 6’8 is an amazing player.  His size and agility tough to contain.  His opponent Step makes his living by playing tight D and grabbing rebounds.  Especially down the stretch – when it counts the most.  And let’s not forget Steph’s passing kills.  However, the Bandits have to win this match-up if they want to win the CHIP.  Edge: BANDITS

3 – Nafi vs. Mike. Nafi is an MVP candidate and his game is solid.  He has no problems getting down and dirty.  If you notice he hits the ground so many times because of his fierce defensive mindset.  His height and experience should create problems for Mike. Speaking of Mike, he is the best mid-range shooter in the league.  The reigning MVP has no weakness to his game.  He is relentless on the boards as well.  Edge: EVEN

4 – Sayem vs. Elijah. Both men have a different type of game.  Sayem, a finesse player, is a killer 3pt shooter and has enjoyed one of his best seasons. His opponent Elijah is new to CBL and looks a bit portly but don’t let that fool you.  Elijah is not only a paint player but at times he spreads the floor and drains the big 3.  Sayem has to guard him tight and play equally physical.  Edge: EVEN

5 – Steph vs. Zo. Two guards who are the heart of their team.  Steph is one of the best scorers and Zo is the best defender.  Something’s gotta give in this intriquing match-up.  The community thinks defense always beats offense.  Therefore, Step has to match Zo step by step which won’t be easy.  Edge: TAKEOVER


The bench will only be a factor if Emiliano is healthy enough to play.  According to captain Sammy, Emiliano will be a game day decision.  Add Ibri and Waqas, the edge would go to Takeover over the Bandits who will have Ian, Hussie and Sheikh. Edge: TAKEOVER


Both teams seem so evenly matched.  The community predicts this to be a physical match-up where the scoring will be limited.  If the Bandits don’t match the intensity of Takeover, this could squash the excitement of a close game. The community likes Takeover mainly due to their defense and team chemistry.  While the Bandits have a multitude of talent, Takeover has proven all season they are the real deal and refuse to lose.  Score Prediction: Takeover 80, Bandits 73.


Five Final Interview Questions – Sammy Desai, Captain Of Team Takeover Thursday,Mar 27 2014

We sat down with Captain Sammy Desai of Team Takeover.  Captain Desai has multiple chips in the CBL divisions.  His most valuable is the CBL Elite one which he won with Takeover last season and now will look for a back-to-back this Sunday – which would be a first in the history of the this very powerful and competitive division.  Here is his interview as he and his team prepares for the Bandits for their finals match-up: 

1 - So what is the mood like in Takeover camp? You guys are in the finals second year in a row. Is there a feeling of relaxation since you have been here before? Knowing that no team ever repeated – does that give you added motivation?

SD: Salaam, First of all I would like to congratulate both teams on making the finals. We are in game mode and we understand that we have a chance to repeat which no team has been able to do so far. This gives us added motivation to play even harder. There is no relaxing in takeover, as we are focused and have one thing on our minds is to keep the Crescent cup with us and repeat as champions.


2 - What happened in the Semifinals game vs. Bearcats? You guys arrived so late. Despite arriving late and watching Emiliano get injured, your team came through and won. Did that surprise you? What was the main reason for this win?

SD: This is kind of a funny question to answer but the truth of the matter is that we actually got lost on trying to find the gym. We called and spoke with one of our teammates and he told us that it was four mins left in the first half and we are down by 4 and Emiliano is hurt and that gave us more of a motivation to get to the game and that made us even hungrier.  I would like to congratulate Bearcats as they played a great game but I think we had a different mindset in that game and we knew that we had to win no matter what. The reason for the win was we did not want to end the season that way. I felt that we had more to lose then Bearcats because we had a great run and to lose in a way where your team can’t show up on time is not the way we wanted to go down so we knew we had to win.


3 – Takeover has never been defeated by the Bandits since they entered the league 3 seasons ago. Do you have their number or is just a coincidence? And, because of prior results is your team more confident?

SD: To be honest with you I did not know that Bandits never lost to us. Bandits have always been a tough team and this year they are even tougher. I don't we have there number. It is just a coincidence. This year will be a different story since I think bandits will have their full squad and should be a great game.  This is the toughest Bandits team put together by far and we know we are going up against a tough team and we respect them.  It will be a great game. Our confidence is in ourselves not because we beat a team in the past we only believe in ourselves and what we have to do. Hopefully we could keep the streak versus Bandits going. lol.


4 – Tell us about your Takeover team. Reply to the following:

-          Who is the funniest and why?

-          Who is the most competitive?

-          Who is the most underappreciated and never gets enough credit?

-          Who is the most sensitive and cannot take a joke?

SD: Takeover is a team with all different personalities -- you have some loud ones and you have some quiet ones but everybody is a killer and I say that because every time we step on the court we leave everything on the court.


-          I would have to say Zo is funny because he is always saying things to make our team relaxed and  not make it that serious

-          The most competitive is Mike Liander. When he is playing good everyone else just follows.

-          I would have to say Steph and Emiliano are the most underappreciated. People forget how good Emiliano is but on takeover he gets over looked sometimes and Steph is also a player that I feel doesn’t get enough credit as he should the guy averages a double double on any given night.

-          I don’t think we have any player who is sensitive and can’t take jokes we all joke around with each other and nobody takes it serious we are all used to each other and we have the same guys for the past 3 seasons.


5 – What is the game plan vs. the Bandits? Is there any player in particular you want to stop? Can you give us a prediction?

We won’t reveal the plan vs. the Bandits lol . I will say that defense is the key and there is no one player they are a unit and they are just like us. They are good at multiple positions. This year is different for us - last year we played No Mercy and we knew we had to stop Waleed. This year it is the Bandits - but they don’t just have one player they are like us. They are stacked at multiple positions. Our key to success is defense. Congrats to both teams for making the finals and may the best team win all I will say is that we will leave everything on the court and as a fan this will be a great game.


Five Final Interview Questions – Sayem Khan, Captain Of Team Bandits Wednesday,Mar 26 2014

We sat down with sharp shooter Sayem Khan who is the Captain and orchestrator of Team Bandits.  We put him on the spot with the following questions as his team prepares for their finals match-up versus Takeover this Sunday at 7:00 pm.  Check out his very intriguing interview:

1 - This is your second appearance in the finals. How do you compare this with the one in 2009 when your team lost? Any lessons learned?

SK: This is a whole different dynamic, the competition level was no-where near what it was today, and I wasn't in my mid 30's so I was able to carry the workload back then, it's great having the support of my brothers this time around.  In '09 I was on a team where I just met the guys so it was harder finding chemistry even though we made an incredible run in the playoffs which definitely goes down in history as one of the best moments in CBL. Definitely learned that to win the CBL chip you need a team that has chemistry, Uday are all brothers, Takeover are brothers and so are the Bandits so it'll be an exciting game.

2- We hear this same bunch (Yourself Steph. Nafi. Darnell. Ian. Ant Cox) have been winning tournaments in other leagues. How will winning it in CBL be different?

SK: Yes as previously stated we battle all over NYC in many leagues and with the talent level we have we expect to win the championships in every league we enter. But you know NYC is the Mecca so competition is great here, winning the CBL chip will be different because it's been eluding me for years and the level of competition CBL has these days is better than a lot of leagues so it would say a lot about how good we are as a team and the chemistry we share.

 3 - Takeover has soundly defeated you guys over the past two seasons - including this season. What went wrong? Will the aforementioned losses affect your psyche?

SK: Well takeover definitely had our number in the past 2 years and kudos to them they are an excellent team, but to our defense we have never played them with our full starting 5 in 2 years, so this will be the first time we can actually play them full force and it's very exciting and all the Bandits are excited about it. And like I said the losses are in the past, we move forward not backward.

4 - What is your thought of the overall competition this season? Is it the most competitive ever?  It seems like you guys were coasting all season.

SK: Even though we coasted this season I can definitely say the competition level in CBL has been the best I've seen in 6 years. Every year it gets better which is a testament to you Farooq and the organizers and what they have done with this league. They have turned CBL into a premier league in NYC that has people talking in all the boroughs. I don't see any other league especially in the Islamic and SouthAsian communities that can even compare to the class and competition of CBL and they never will.

5 - What's the game plan vs. Takeover? Who is the one person you feel you must stop in order to be successful? Please elaborate.

SK: Well I definitely won't let out our secrets for our game-plan but What I can say is we all know Mike Liander will get his points the former MVP, and I think we have the bodies to contain him, my opinion on who needs to be contained is Zo, that dude can play and his explosiveness may be the X factor, were not his age anymore but we are definitely more experienced and will show veteran play that we hope will lead us to the chip.


List Of Past Finals Tuesday,Mar 25 2014

Season 6, April 14, 2013
Opponent: No Mercy
MVP: Jabbar McEvilley
Coach: Sammy Desai
Season 5, April 8, 2012
Winner: UDAY
Opponent: No Mercy
MVP: Hakim Abarkha
Coach: Hakim Abarkha
Season 4, April 3, 2011
Opponent: Imaan
MVP: Arjay Perovic
Coach: Riz Rahman
Season 3, March 28, 2010
Opponent: Juggernauts
MVP: Mohammed Begawala 
Coach: Raheel Nadim
Season 2, March 29, 2009
Opponent: Bandits
MVP: Arki Wisnu
Coach: Ed
Season 1, March 23, 2008
Opponent: Arsenal
MVP: Suhail Sofizada
Coach: Obaid Sofizada

Finals Prediction From The Crescent Community Monday,Mar 24 2014

Salman, CBL Organizer: “This will probably be the best match-up since the 2010 finals in terms of match-ups.  But I say the Bandits will edge out a win because Stef got the Kobe killer instinct and will takeover the game.  Final Score, Bandits 82, Takeover 75.”

Moe B, Captain, Team Dynasty: “It’s a monumental achievement to win a chip let alone back to back.  Both teams have great players that know their roles.  I think the Bandits are very focused and will pull it out in a very intense and tight game.

Farooq, CBL Organizer: “Both teams have been a pleasure to watch and have represented there team with class this season.  Congratulations on getting to the finals in such a competitive division.  As I said in the past, winning a Chip at any level is not easy.  In this contest, as much as I love the Bandits, I think Takeover will pull it out in the final seconds in an historical contest which will go into OT.”  

Anel aka Butter, Team Bearcats: “Both teams deserve to be there.  Bandits designed there team to win a chip and that’s it.  However, I want to see a repeat with Takeover”

Bear, Captain of Team Bearcats: “Bandits in a close one, as they are tough in every position”

Abdullah, CBL Organizer: “The Bandits will win to continue the streak of a new champion every year”

Sami Rab, Team Panthers:  Takeover’s exciting guard play will keep the game close.  Both teams are very well rounded but as a former Bandit in my rookie year, I am going to have to side with the Bandits this year.  Their down low presence is just too fierce.  This will be one of the most entertaining games to date in CBL.”

Saffi, CBL Jr. division Star: “The Bandits will win because there big men are best in the league.”

Reyaad, Team Imaan: “Both teams are great and deserves to be in the finals.  This will be a dog fight!  In the end I think the Bandits size and great outside shooting will prevail in a low scoring game.  67-64 Bandits.”

Hanny, Captain, Team Arsenal:  “The Bandits might be the best team on paper but in addition to Takeover having some of the best talent in the league, they are also one of my favorite teams.  Back to back years in the finals!  Can’t argue that…I like Takeover” 

Shafi, CBL Organizer: “I love the Bandits because it’s Farooq’s original team.  Lol.  j/k Rooting for Takeover and Waqas”

Abid, CBL Organizer: “I have to go with the Bandits.  It’s time for the Bandits to bring the Chip home.  Bandits are hungry it seems”

Silvio (former Season MVP), Team Uday: “It will be a close game but I think the Bandits have a more complete team”

Ishraq, CBL 18 Commissioner: “This Finals match-up is definitely going down to the wire.  Liander will put in the work and drop at least 30 but it won’t be enough.  My man Sayem will light it up behind the arc.  I predict Bandits 84, Takeover 79.” 

Hakim, Team Uday: “Takeover will win if the game is at the big gym because they will run on the Bandits”

Steve, Team Uday: “Only the strong survive.  Bandits 86, Takeover 79”

Magdy, Team Arsenal:  “It will be a good game – Both teams match well with each other.  I give the edge to the Bandits.” 

King Khan, Team Dynasty: “Salaam.  Bandits will win this year.  It’s their time and it’s due.  They need to win.  Plus takeover isn’t hungry since they won already”

Sheehan, Team Dynasty: “I like the Bandits”

Maaz Bigewala, Team Dynasty and CBLj Commisioner: “Takeover is a tough championship team; however, Bandits experience, size, and savvy will propel them in this heavyweight match-up.”

Shanni, Team Dynasty: “First time repeat Champs!  Takeover will win!”

Moe Hussaini, Formerly of Team Takeover: “Their UNITY, INGENUINITY, and Creativity is just off the charts.  Especially with a tandem who are closer than PB and J…I go with Takeover with the Repeat!”

Abdurrehman, Formerly of Team Takeover: “Asalamualaykum gotta go with the defending champs and Allah knows best. Shout out to Sammy on really Taking Over.”

Waqas Chaudhry, Team Takeover and CBL Organizer: “Takeover All Day! Every Day!”

Mahmood, Formerly of Team Franchise: “Takeover repeats as champs by 10.  I’lll never pick against a team that has Mike and my boy Jabbar scoring the ball”


Final Four Recap Sunday,Mar 23 2014

Semifinals Recap: 

Game 1, Bandits vs. Uday.  In an intense and physical battle which entailed multiple behavioral warnings from the referees, the Bandits ultimately prevailed over Uday by a score of 86 to 77.  Right off the bat Uday showed their hand.  The Marfe boys took off their gloves and just played aggressive and basically sent a message that they were going to give it their all.  Meanwhile the Bandits did not go away from their successful mantra during the season.   They remained composed and maximized the trio effort from Steph, Nafi, and Ant Cox.  This contest was pretty much close in the entire game until the final minutes when the Bandits went ahead for good due to the smart play of Any Cox. 

In the first half, both teams exchanged leads and battled basket for basket.  Each time when it seemed the Bandits would extend their lead beyond double digits, the Uday squad led by Steve and Silvio would not that let happen. Gneez played solid D vs. Nafi to keep in check as best as he can.  Meanwhile Rahi and Hakim held their own vs. the Bandits guards in Darnell and Steph.  The score at halftime was 39-33 Bandits.  In the second half, it was pretty much the same, the Bandits would make a run and run the lead to 7 or 8 but Gneez or Silvio would drain a big shot and bring them close.  This went on until the final minutes when Ant Cox basically took control and sealed the win with big and 1’s and key rebounds while getting Uday in foul trouble.  With this win, team Bandits punch their ticket to their second ever Finals.  And this time they hope to win it vs. Takeover.  The last appearance for the Bandits in the finals was Season 2 where Sayem was a deadly shooter and took an under-talented team to the Chip game but they lost. 

Game 2, Bearcats vs. Takeover.  It has been said all season, it does not matter who shows up for Takeover – they still play tough and win mainly due to team chemistry.  On this very important night, Captain Sammy did not deliver his two best players in Zo and Mike until the final minutes of the first half.  By the time they arrived (due to the fact they got lost), their mates in Jabaar, Ibri, Elijah, Emiliano (who got injured and had to sit out), and Steph had the game in control.  The lead at halftime was only 6 for Bearcats despite them having all their key guys.  That gave Takeover the confidence they could win this after such a disadvantage. 

In the second half both teams at full squad kept the game close.  There were several lead changes and ties. Edis was setting up his mates on both sides of the floor.  However, he himself seemed out of sync.  Whether he was let down due to the lack of competition in the early minutes or a different venue, but it seemed apparent that Edis was not his normal self.  His teammates were on top of their game though - led by CBL veterans Arjay and Smiley.   And that was enough to keep them in the game and in position to win. 

In the final 3 minutes it was apparent that Takeover was not going to lose this game. Zo was on a mission to carry his team to victory with solid perimeter defense and the sheer will of going after each loose ball – which inspired his mates.  Meanwhile his pal Mike converted on the timely mid-range shots which sealed the win for Takeover where they will face the Bandits in the Finals.  They now have afforded themselves an opportunity to be the first ever team in CBL to win back-to-back championships.  Final Score, Takeover 88, Bearcats 78.




Hadith - March 2014

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) was a healthy, fit active human being. He always encouraged being active & health cautious. Various reports indicate that the Prophet Muḥammad(peace and blessings upon him)participated and or encouraged the following sports related activities: • swimming • archery • horse riding • walking • racing • playing with one's family “His (peace & blessings upon him) stomach & chest were in line.” (Tabrani and Tirmidhi) “The strong (active) believer is better & more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.” (Muslim).

Team Standings
Team Win Loss
Bandits 9 2
Take Over 9 2
Uday 8 3
Arsenal 6 5
City Boys 6 5
Bearcats 6 5
UK/Chaos 0 0
Imaan 5 6
Chaos 5 7
Dynasty 3 6
Mashakill 4 7
Unknown 4 8
Panthers 1 10

Top Players
Team Name PPG
City Boys Darnell 30.29
Take Over Mike Liander 26
Chaos Vakas Iqbal 25
Uday Silvio 24
Panthers Ricky 23
Unknown Mario A 22.14
Chaos Taha 22

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