MERALCO veteran Cliff Hodge admitted it'll be surreal seeing Jarred Dillinger in a Barangay Ginebra uniform when the two teams battle it out in the PBA Governors Cup Finals for the third time.
Hodge and Dillinger were together with the Bolts when they went up against the Kings in the season-ending finals in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Twice, they ended up on the losing end.
Now one of them will emerge a winner.
The two parted ways after Dillinger was acquired by Barangay Ginebra from the unrestricted free agency midway in the season.
Hodge says it’s going to be strange facing Dillinger with no less than a championship at stake.
“It’s a little bit different because we’ve been to battle for so long. But I think it’s going to be interesting, it’s going to be fun,” said the 31-year-old forward.
Meralco beat Ginebra in their first and only meeting this conference, 101-97, although Hodge and Dillinger both failed to see action.
“The first meeting we didn’t get to play each other because I was a little banged up and he’s still hurt,” recalled Hodge.
But he and Dillinger already talked to each other regarding the finals.
“I’m excited, he’s excited. Of course, everyone wants to be in the finals,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how they fit him (JD) to their system.”
Hodge however, doesn’t see himself being matched up against his friend, although he will welcome the job if given by coach Norman Black.
“Probably I’ll guard (Justine) Brownlee a little bit. Last series (semis), I had to guard KJ (McDaniels), I had to guard Troy (Rosario), I had to guard Jayson (Castro),” he said.
“Still, I think whatever coach wants me to do, I’ll do it.”
All for the sake of winning a first-ever championship for the Bolts.
“It’s going to be great if we’ll finally win one, although it’s going to be tough,” said Hodge. “I want it more than anything right now to finally win a championship in the PBA.”