CLIFF Hodge took part of a five-man weave drill in a Meralco practice over the weekend as energetic as an eager teenage aspirant trying out for his high school varsity team.
The Bolts energizer bunny has definitely been recharged after taking a much-deserved vacation earlier in the offseason for a change.
“I usually never take any breaks during offseason,” Hodge said in a chat with Spin.ph. “I just play the whole time, but this time, I decided to take a different route.”
The Filipino-American forward admitted that the grueling year-long PBA season took its toll, reason why he decided to book a two-week trip to Europe.
“I relaxed for two weeks,” he said, mentioning Amsterdam, Belgium, and Spain as the destination stops he had with his girlfriend and some friends. “Just went to party and the beach just to get my mind off basketball for a while.”
Hodge looked like his usual lively self in training this early in the offseason.
“My body feels a lot better than last year,” the 27-year-old cager said as he returned in time for the start of Bolts’ training camp two weeks ago.
Hodge is also confident about the new season, especially with the arrival of big man Rabeh Al-Hussaini as well as free-agent signings Justin Chua and Ryan Buenafe, and draft picks Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, and Joseph Sedurifa.
“His (Al-Hussaini’s) comeback comes at a perfect time,” Hodge said. “He’s an asset to us.”
And retooled roster is enough to convince him to aim for at least a Final Four spot every tournament.
“I feel like if we don’t make the semifinals every conference, then it’s going to be a disappointment,” Hodge beamed.
“We’ll definitely be better than last year,” he added. “Last year, I feel we kind of overachieved with what we had. So now, we got a little bit more pieces through the draft and through free agency.”