The Nobel International School Algarve 3 x 3 Basketball Team returned from the National Championships in Viseu on Friday, with the coveted title of national champions after winning all group games in a competition that saw 96 teams, 12 in each age group, and 300 players converging to win titles.
The team of three, Rafael Garcia, 13, Nikita Bolshov, 12, and Freddie Healy, 12, are the first team to win the trophy for the school. Head of Sport Paulo Bitoque said: “The boys have done phenomenally well and we are very proud of them. 3 x 3 Basketball is a very fast half-court game and requires players to be very strong and athletic but also technically very good. You need a lot of technical skills in penetrating the defence and the players in the team have to complement each other; you can´t have three players with the same strengths. Rafael is technically brilliant – he plays for local team Imortal. Nikita brings a lot of strength to the team and is very good with re-bound – he plays for ACD Ferragudo. Freddie is an all-round sportsman and plays tennis. They worked together very well indeed.
“Basketball started as a school sport at Nobel International School in 2015, when the school competed in the CAISL festival and started coming way with better results. In 5 x 5 basketball, Nobel Algarve were Vice Champions, 2nd place at CAISL this year and third place the year before. The sport is going from strength to strength.”
This 3 x 3 basketball competition is organised jointly by the Portuguese Basketball Federation and Desporto Escolar. Heats begin at school level, where teams are selected to represent the school. The Barlavento stage then includes all schools from the Eastern Algarve. This was held in Albufeira, where more than 250 pupils from 40 schools competed to qualify for the regional championship. Regionals were then played on Olhão, the four best teams in the Western and Easter Algarve – our team won and were selected to represent the Algarve in the nationals, played in Viseu. In these other stages of the competition, Kevin Gunnarson, 13, and Rory Craig, 13, also competed as part of the Nobel team, ensuring a place in the finals. On the road to this national title, the boys played and won 19 games between them.
Rafael Jurado Garcia, 13, Spain
Nikita Bolshov, 12, Russia
Freddie James Healy, 12, England,
Kevin Gunnarson, 13, Sweden,
Rory Craig, 13, England