"I could not just rest on the plane as my players did, but distributed some time to analyze opponents' tactics. I was so tired then," Ji recalled.
The Serbian was trying to come back in the third set, converting his first breakpoint after losing the previous four in the sixth game. But a deadly double-fault in the 11th gave Nadal a chance to serve for the title.
Bratislava's talented young forward Samuel Bucek was the hero of the match, scoring the golden goal early in OT, his first of the season, after assisting on the tying goal in the second period. The team from Slovakia's capital climbed up two spots in the rankings to 7th place after the 3-2 OT victory.
"We didn't execute as we prepared. Some players didn't respond well," rued Shandong coach Luka Sjekloca.
These three players have all been included in the squad for the Champions League along with John Stones, who remains at Manchester City despite his erratic form since joining from Everton in 2016.
Boasting a balanced roster, Heilongjiang advanced to the playoffs in Ji's first season as the coach, which surprised her a lot.
"I used to like the international games as it was something different and I will keep working to get back," commented the forward, who said he had a "very good" relationship with Spain national team coach Luis Enrique.
"I didn't expect to take charge of the team at such an early stage. It arrived all of a sudden," she recalled. "But the team was at a crucial time, so I took it over."
Ji was dubbed "Female Kobe" for her shooting posture and scoring ability similar to deceased American legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January.
The Lakers beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, winning its first championship in a decade.
Germany seemed destined for a 3-2 win but Turkey had the last laugh as Karaman was on target in injury time to share the spoils.