The stakes are beginning to rise as the South Island Conference moves closer to establishing their finalists in the LPL Pro NBA 2K18 1on1 NZ Championship.

The Final 4 contests this Sunday will feature Riley "Rizz" Aitken against Te Awanui "minnislug" Waaka and Jake "JD" Downes facing Regan "TROPIC_Superstar" Small.

Small, the seventh seed in the South, edged past Sahan "GhettoClownFish" Petta 2-1 in the previous round.

"The competition is more nerve racking than I expected," Small said.

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"I had the chance to sweep [Petta] but was thinking too much rather than playing.

"Therefore, I aim to not get flustered and focus solely on one thing at a time. I learnt when I get flustered I need to take my time and re-synch my mind with what I am doing."

Small, a 20-year-old student in Dunedin, said he expected a tough outing on Sunday.

"He is a very confident and tactical player. But, as always, stopping his plays on the defensive side will secure the W."

Downes, the No 3 seed for the South Island, secured a rare 2-0 sweep in the previous round as he brushed aside Jordan "Hendo1427" Henderson.

Time management seems like one of Small's biggest challenges as he heads into his Final 4 showdown.

"A lot less 2K18 and a lot of lab reports for uni. I have played enough to know my game and I'm sticking to it."

This week's coverage will get underway at 2.30pm on Sunday and will be shown live on Maori Television. It will also be streamed online on Twitch.

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Canterbury's Aitken, the No 1 seed from the South Island, was happy to advance in the competition but knows he could get better.

"After playing my first series against HennyKingSteve, I learned that staying cool, calm and collected is the key to performing well under pressure," he said.

"I reviewed my play and pointed out some stuff I could definitely do better against Minnislug."
As the players edge closer to getting their hands on the $5,000 first prize, the prospect of a big score was starting to set in.

"The prizes on offer are definitely a motivator for going deep in the tournament, I need to put the stakes aside though and focus on my game if I want to perform at my best level."

Waaka might be the No 5 seed but Aitken said he wouldn't take him lightly.

"I watched Minnislug's games after mine and was impressed by his play, particularly with James Harden and the Rockets.

"I'm not going to underestimate his skills as the fifth seed because it's been shown in this tournament that upsets can happen. He's a cool dude and a great competitor so I can't wait to match up against him on Sunday."

Key Information

Event: LPL Pro NBA 2K18 1on1 NZ Championship
Game: NBA 2K18
When: Every Sunday, 2:30pm, July 21-September 30
Watch: Maori TV and www.Twitch.tv/letsplay.live