REYNEL Hugnatan may be hero for Meralco in Game Four but Cliff Hodge put the Bolts in a position to capture the crucial victory in Game Four of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
Hodge set the tone for the Bolts in the first half, and that led to him finishing with 16 points, six rebounds, and three steals in their 83-80 win. His performance sparked Meralco, which forced a decider on Friday night at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
“That’s the reason why he plays so many minutes,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “He is always on the floor because he gives us a lot defensively. He is our best defender. He rebounds the basketball. He is shooting a high percentage on the floor.”
Black is glad that Hodge is playing this way in one of the conferences of his career where he is at his healthiest.
“This is probably the first conference in a long, long while that he has been healthy throughout. He hasn’t had any injuries. It shows on the court,” said Black.
Black added Hodge has become an added threat on offense in the Smart Clark Giga City-PBA bubble campaign, and is taking advantage of teams leaving him open.
“He is shooting at a high percentage around the basketball and he becomes a threat when he can make those lay-ups because most of the teams don’t want to really guard him. He’s been making them pay,” said Black.
More than his offense and defense, Black said Hodge remains the kind of player who will give his heart out every game.
“More importantly, he gives us that hustle and heart that we really need,” said Black.
For more PBA updates, click here.