News: Gators dunk in Hong Kong
HONG KONG – The Liu “Gators”, made up of sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), participated in a basketball game with students and faculty of Chong Gene Hang College (CGHC), April 18 during a port visit in Hong Kong.
CGHC, a co-ed government aided secondary school located in Hong Kong East district, hosted the match at the Siu Sai Wan Sports Centre where the two teams were scheduled to play.
“Our organization contacted us with the chance to serve the U.S. armed forces,” said Wong Benz, basketball coach and teacher for CGHC. “We like to play basketball here and this is the third time we have had the chance to play with the U.S.”
Both teams played aggressively with friendly competitive spirit, breaking language and cultural barriers in the process. The teams were able to play two separate games, with the Gators coming out on top each time.
“There was good sportsmanship between both teams and we respected that,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Maurice Williams, team captain for the Gators. “We were playing kids 18 and under but they played together as a team, they never quit, and they enjoyed themselves. They did very well.”
With no hard feelings, the students of CGHC were all smiles at the end of the game and appreciated the chance to play with the Gators.
“It was a good chance to let the students see the level of different people,” said Benz. “We especially love the NBA and it is nice to experience American-style basketball.”
Competitive scrimmage matches play an important strategic role to the U.S. in helping maintain friendly relations with our allied partners in the Asia-Pacific regions. Through interactions such as sports games and community service projects, the U.S. hopes to demonstrate its commitment to promoting peace and stability in the region.
“Honestly it’s a great opportunity for us,” said Williams. “To be able to play with these kids and get to know them. It really is a once in a life time experience.”
The men’s basketball game was the last of many sports matches, including volleyball and soccer games, played by sailors of Peleliu against local teams during the ships four-day port visit to the Chinese Special Administrative Region.
Peleliu’s port visit represents an important opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrate commitment to regional partners, and foster growing relationships. Peleliu is the flagship for the Peleliu Amphibious Ready group on deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility with amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.