SUCCESS is often earned through hard work and perseverance and for basketball player Nathaniel Bracmonte the blood, sweat and tears has finally paid off.
Nathaniel, 11, born in the Philippines, was selected to play in the representative Darling Downs regional basketball team, a feat as he is only one of three players selected from the Maranoa and south-west.
"There were more than six teams of players competing for 10 spots at the Darling Downs regional trials, including a number of teams out of Toowoomba with some gifted players,” Nathaniel said.
"Initially it was a bit hard because in the final round of eliminations I was the only one from the south-west, Ididn't know anyone compared to other teams that knew how each other played.
"But I concentrated on what I know and tried my best to work with the team I was on and that was it, I got through.”
For Nathaniel the concept of playing high-level basketball was something he envisaged since he was very young.
"When I was younger I started watching hours of basketball videos and I loved the sport,” he said.
"I wanted to get to the NBA and my dream has always been to play on a high-profile team and be valued as a great player.”
Mother Maricris Bracamonte said when Nathaniel was younger he would disappear without a word to play basketball.
"He would come home from school and he would just go, we had no idea where he was and he never really told us,” Mrs Bracamonte said.
"We found out later he would spend the whole day or night at the basketball court, on his own or with friends, shooting hoops and sweating.
"He would then come home tired because he hadn't eaten, I wanted to get angry at him for playing so much until I realised how much potential he had.”
Nathaniel's father figure, Ronald House, said it became very easy and predictable to find Nathaniel when he disappeared.
"At first we were worried but then when he didn't come home we'd walk or drive past the courts and he would be there every time, shooting hoops or playing with friends,” he said.
Nathaniel said even the concept of regular meals came second to his love for basketball.
"I'd be there for hours without eating anything and although I got really hungry I found it really hard to stop playing,” he said.
"Thankfully there was a tap right beside the court and I think if that tap wasn't there I wouldn't have been able to stay for as long as I did.”
Nathaniel's Roma Basketball coach Matt Gane said he has shown a passion and determination not often seen at his age.
"He came to us two years ago but in that time he's shown the most talent for his age,” Mr Gane said.
"He's got a lot further to go at his age but he possesses the hunger and the drive to succeed so we are expecting great things from him.
"We have actually asked him to play up an age grade to give him a few lessons but even then Nathaniel has managed to score a number of points.”
The Darling Downs regional team will play in June this year.
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