WITH Meralco hitting its initial goal of making it to the semifinals, rookie Cliff Hodge is looking to help the Bolts move further in the postseason and he has been putting in the extra work after practice hours.
The 6-foot-4 Hodge has been working on his three-point shot, hoping to draw the defense from import Mario West, who was double or triple-teamed in Game One of the semifinal series against San Mig Coffee on Sunday.
“I’ve been trying to improve my game a lot, like taking 250 to 300 shots after practice,” Hodge told Spin.ph, on the eve of the team’s Game Two semifinal match versus San Mig Coffee.
The Reedley College alumnus shot 19 points, spiked by three triples but Meralco sputtered in the second half, allowing San Mig Coffee to seize a 1-0 series lead with an 83-73 win.
The swarming San Mig defense prevented West from doing his damage inside and he wound up with a PBA career-low nine points on three-of-16 field goal shooting.
“We just have to be more composed because this is our first time to be in the semis. We need to take better shots, run our sets and we need to hit our shots when they double or triple team him (West),” explained the fourth overall pick of Meralco in last year’s PBA Annual Rookie Draft.
Hodge is averaging 13.09 points, 7.82 rebounds and 1.08 blocks, while shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc this conference.
The Bolts try to equalize the series when they tangle with the Mixers in Game Two on Tuesday night, 7:15 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.