Last year’s META High School League NBA 2K20 grand finalist Benjamin “Chooka” Creanor, from Damascus College in Ballarat, is eyeing a second chance at the title.
He just chalked up a big 141-point performance in the Regional Finals, and is heading interstate into the Championship Round to face the rest of the country’s top NBA players.
Chooka will need to make his way through the Championship Round double-elimination bracket on August 29 and September 5 before he can take that shot though. There’s still a handful of big battles to be won, but Chooka is quietly confident he has what it takes.
“There’s a lot of new talent, and New Zealand has their own group now. I’m not getting ahead of myself, just because [his grand final rival from 2019] isn’t playing doesn’t mean nobody can beat me. I’m going to keep my head up and continue to learn and improve,” he told Snowball Esports.
The META tournament uses the ‘PLAY NOW’ game mode in 2K20, which allows players to select NBA teams with their current rosters and go head-to-head. The Lakers have been one of the more popular picks this year online, but Chooka goes in a different direction. He always picks the Milwaukee Bucks, and did so again in the Regional Finals.
The reason? Chooka is a big fan of exploiting the raw power that Giannis Antetokounmpo — who he described as an “incredible specimen” in-game — brings to the table in each and every match.
This lines up perfectly with Chooka’s own game plan. The NBA grand finalist likes to play with a “defensive-first” mentality. Most of the META league, including Chooka’s regional rival in the last round, aim to play a three-point style. Chooka wants to drive and draw fouls with Giannis.
But for the Damascus College star, the META competition offers him more than just the ability to play like the Bucks, and chase titles. The Year 12 student is looking to go to university, and study film. Playing video games, especially at a high level, gives him the perfect platform to cut together show reels, master live streaming, and create top-tier highlight clips.
Chooka told Snowball Esports he’ll always look back fondly at his time competing in the META NBA 2K20 tournament. It’s given him a “unique opportunity” to explore an industry like esports — a relative unknown in the film world — and create connections at events like the Melbourne Esports Open, and the entire META circuit.
MEO specifically has been a crown jewel in Creanor’s cap so far. The event itself was more than twelve months ago, but Chooka admits he’s still “blown away” by what the weekend, the event, and the tournament grand final was like.
“It was like nothing I could have ever imagined. It was absolutely insane. We all got a weekend pass, we were playing Sunday morning at 10.30am, the atmosphere while looking around at all the different competitions was crazy,” he said.
“For META, being on stage, although I didn’t win, it was an incredibly close game. People were walking past and we drew quite a big crowd as we got closer to the finish. It was really cool.”