For the first time in 23 years, the McMaster men’s basketball team will participate in an international competition when it heads overseas to play in the Buddha Light International Association (BLIA) Cup tournament, Aug. 16-21, at the Kaohsiung Arena in Taiwan.
The BLIA Cup is a sport cultural exchange organized by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, intended to promote the sport of basketball among universities and to provide young athletes with the experience of competition in large-scale tournaments. The tournament will feature eight male teams and eight female teams, with representation from the USA, France, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, the Philippines, and People’s Republic of China.
McMaster coach Amos Connolly says that it has become much more prevalent for Canadian Interuniversity Sports teams to travel for international competition during the off-season. “Not only will this tournament give us the chance to refine our systems in preparation for the 2016-17 season, but more importantly it is providing our players and staff with a chance to grow together as teammates and as a family,” said Connolly.
The Marauders will take a travelling party of 13 players, three coaches and one athletic therapist.
“Without question we will have to adjust to some differences in lifestyle, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our student-athletes to see another country and experience the culture,” Connolly added. “We are very grateful to the Fo Guang Shan Monastery for supporting our team and making it possible for us to compete in this great event.”
McMaster is the first CIS team to appear in the BLIA Cup since the UBC women’s team participated in 2011.
This marks the second foray into international competition for the McMaster men’s basketball program, as the Marauders represented Canada at the Copa Americas Club tournament in Quito, Ecuador in 1993.