MERALCO forward Cliff Hodge said he won't change the way he plays just because of accusations that he plays dirty, insisting that his only concern is to play hard for the sake of his team.
Hodge once again came under fire on Saturday from Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who accused the Fil-Am forward of deliberately hurting people as he refused to apologize to Hodge for his 'mongoloid' slur.
However, the 6-foot-4 Hodge remained defiant, saying there’s no point changing his style of play just because other people like Guiao do not like it.
“It’s his (Guiao) honest opinion. I can’t and I’m not gonna change his opinion, but I’ll play hard,” Hodge told Spin.ph shortly after the Bolts bowed to the Elasto Painters on Saturday, 96-97 in overtime.
“There’s elbows and everyone’s flying and fighting for the ball. You just can’t single one person out,” he added.
The sophomore forward said as long as there’s a loose ball, fans can expect him to go for it and not be afraid to sacrifice his body just to be able to regain possession for his team.
“I go out there, I play hard for my teammates and I'm gonna fight every possession till the buzzer sounds. Hopefully in the end, we’ll win,” said the former standout out of Riddley College.
“I’m going out there and I’m playing hard. If there’s a loose ball, I’m gonna dive. And if there’s possession I can get, I’ll get it,” he said.
“I’m gonna sacrifice my body for my team because that’s how I always played when I was younger.”
Guiao's anger rose after Hodge was caught on TV hitting Jeff Chan on the mouth with an elbow while both players were going for the loose ball late in the first half of Game Three.
But Hodge insisted he had no intention of hurting Chan during the sequence.
“I’m going for the ball man. There’s lot of elbows in the game, and it’s (elbow to Chan) just singled out all by itself,” he said. “I didn’t try to elbow him (Chan) in the face. I tried to get the ball. That’s the way I play.”
The 26-year-old added: “Some teams hate it (hustle and physical plays). My team loves it. They feed off my energy and feed off the intensity I bring to the game. My team loves me and my company loves me.”