The second quarter-final of the NBA2K19 Gaming Tournament saw model Neelam Gill take on Spurs striker Fernando Llorente for a chance to face Amy Jackson in the semifinals of the competition.
Despite wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey, the Spanish footballer selected to play as LeBron James’ L.A. Lakers, while Neelam represented the Oklahoma City Thunder, with three-time NBA Champion Bruce Bowen overseeing the quarter-final match-up.
Llorente’s Lakers hit the rim in the opening seconds, but it was Neelam’s Thunder who opened the scoring from the free throw line. The Spaniard fired straight back to make it 2-2 and showed off his competitive edge by fist-pumping whilst shouting: ‘Come on, come on, come on!’
It was neck and neck throughout, with both teams evenly matched. The score was tied at 10-10 before the sound of the buzzer signalled the first overtime of the tournament so far. The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook was first to pounce, soon followed by a pair of free throws to make it 13-10 in Neelam’s favour.
The Lakers’ Javale McGee retaliated with an easy basket which had Llorente on his feet. Rajon Rondo dramatically hit the rim from a free throw in the dying seconds and a counter-attack was on for the Thunder before the buzzer ended all hopes of a dramatic comeback.
The close contest ended 15-13 to Llorente’s Lakers, but the 23-year-old model took the defeat in her stride, stating ‘Obviously I’m disappointed because I lost, but I’m proud of my performance’.
The Spain international was delighted with his win and was able to transfer his fighting mentality from the football pitch to the virtual court, saying ‘I just keep fighting because I started very bad.’
Llorente will face another model in Amy Jackson in the semifinal of the gaming tournament after she defeated fellow North London footballer Alex Iwobi in the previous round.
Fernando Llorente Media Q+A
Q: As a Spanish basketball fan, what do the Gasol brothers mean to you?
Llorente: They are some of best sportsmen in Spain. They are amazing guys, I have the privilege to know them personally. I love watching them play whenever I can.”
Q: Who is your favourite Spanish NBA player?
Llorente: My favourite player is Pau Gasol. He’s the best Spanish basketball player ever. He won two titles in the NBA, he’s written important pages in history and we are all very proud of him.
Q: Why should basketball fans be excited for the NBA London Game 2019?
Llorente: Because it’s special. It’s great to have the opportunity to see these players in Europe, which is something that doesn’t happen every day.
Q: Who will win the London Game 2019?
Llorente: I think it will be a tight game, but Washington will win it in the end.
Q: Who is the biggest NBA fan you have met in your career as a footballer?
Llorente: When I was playing in Italy for Juventus, Giorgio Chiellini was the biggest NBA fan.