Sailors from USS Peleliu Slam Dunk in Hong Kong

Sailors from USS Peleliu Slam Dunk in Hong Kong

The “Liu Gators”, a basketball team of Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), participated in a basketball game April 18, during a Hong Kong port visit, with the students and faculty of Chong Gene Hang College (CGHC).

CGHC, a co-ed government aided east district Hong Kong secondary school, hosted the match at the Siu Sai Wan Sports Centre.

“Our organization contacted us with the chance to serve the U.S. armed forces,” said Wong Benz, CGHC basketball coach and teacher. “We like to play basketball here and this is the third time we have had the chance to play with the U.S.”

The two teams broke language and cultural barriers, as the Gators won each of the two separate games.

“There was good sportsmanship between both teams, and we respected that,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Maurice Williams, Gators team captain. “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.”

“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.”

“Honestly, it’s a great opportunity for us,” Williams said, “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 that Peleliu Sailors played against local teams, including volleyball and soccer.

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.

Naval Today Staff, April 22, 2013; Image: US Navy