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Basketball doesn't stop in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

NASSAU (Bahamas) – Not even the devastation and destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas could stop basketball from moving forward or the second edition of the Caribbean Tip-Off Classic from happening.

This event presented by the Bahamas Basketball Federation offered a platform for some of the best preparatory schools and academies in the country to compete against international institutions.

Aquinas College's Loyola Hall was the venue for 12 teams to showcase their best talents throughout three days of good competitions. The event served as a stage for these players to show off their talents and be seen to get educational opportunities through basketball.

This year the tournament hosted team representations from the Bahamas, Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Finland. Twenty-one countries were represented among the players that attended the competition that was broadcast for more than 40 million people in Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean.

“One of the main purposes and tasks of the Federation is to promote and ensure the adequate growth and development of basketball in the Bahamas," said Bahamas Federation President, Mario Bowleg. "As President, I'll always recognize that, although basketball is a sport, it's also a tool to create character. Preparing players with solid foundations, making them attractive for college scouts. That's paramount. This is why the Tip-Off Classic is a particular event that I'm happy to host and bring coaches to visit our island, which will bring more exposition to Bahamian players.”

The tournament has no competitive finality, so there are no prizes given to its champions. It's more about showing their abilities and attitudes when playing against quality competitors and fostering, above everything, athletic and human development.

Benedict Mathurin, of the NBA Academy - Latin America, was named the tournament's MVP.

“The event was successful based on the number of scouts present to watch the talents,” said Bowleg to FIBA.basketball days after the event concluded. “The activity’s entire purpose was to make sure to draw and increase the number of scouts so that they could watch those student-athletes play and give them a chance to improve their lives by superior education through basketball.”

Bowleg added that his organization is operating to the fullest capacity, even after the catastrophic damages to the Bahamas left by Hurricane Dorian in September.

“The Federation is in good shape, although two of our larger islands, Freeport and Abaco, were damaged, so basketball stopped in those areas. However, basketball is alive and active in other parts of the country,” Bowleg assured.

Rain or shine, Bahamians have shown that basketball lives in the Bahamas and that sports can help a nation get back on its feet.