IF he can have his way, Clifford Hodge would like to stay at Meralco until the day he retires.
The Meralco rookie admits hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors, the latest about a supposed move to Barangay Ginebra, but Hodge insists he doesn't let these get in the way of his work.
“I always hear stories about that, but I don’t dwell on it. I just stay focused,” said the Fil-American forward. “I don’t worry about it. Until everything is said and in place, I don’t entertain those kinds of stuff.”
Hodge's name cropped up in a rumor that went viral last week, supposedly packaged with Asi Taulava and offered to Ginebra for fellow rookie Chris Ellis and well-travelled guard Josh Urbiztondo.
The former Reedley College standout insisted he not only wants to stay with the Meralco franchise, he also longs to win a championship for Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio.
“Since I’ve been in the league, I told myself I only wanted to stay in one team my whole career if I can possibly make it happen,” he said.
“I feel like I’m beginning to play my role in the Meralco system. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I am getting there (becoming a big factor for the team),” Hodge added.
“I really want to win a championship here. My team is gonna need me to play a very good conference to do that… And that’s what I want to do.
Hodge also believes that among other rookies, he has the best chance to deny Alaska sensation Calvin Abueva the Rookie of the Year award.
“There’s lots of rookies that played well, but everybody talks about it’s Calvin and me. I know he’s all the way up there, but I’m not looking at that. I want something for my team,” he added.