Latin America

Hodge atones for Game 3 blunder as Meralco forces do-or-die vs TNT

Delfin Dioquino
Hodge atones for Game 3 blunder as Meralco forces do-or-die vs TNT
Cliff Hodge impacts the game beyond what the statistics show to help Meralco tie TNT in the best-of-five semifinals series at 2-2

ANTIPOLO, Philippines – It did not take long for Cliff Hodge to compensate for his late blunder last game as he helped Meralco keep its finals bid alive in the PBA Governors’ Cup against TNT. 

Hodge turned in 4 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks in the Bolts’ 95-83 victory over the KaTropa in Game 4 that tied their best-of-five semifinals affair at two games apiece on Saturday, December 21. 

It was a performance that proved crucial for Meralco, which missed the chance to gain a 2-1 lead in Game 3 partly because of Hodge. (READ: Hodge takes blame for late-game blunder as Meralco nears semis exit)

Down 97-100 with less than 30 seconds left in Game 3, the Bolts had a chance to level the score but Allen Durham fired a pass in the direction of Hodge, who stood in front of their bench with his hands up.

The only problem, though, was Hodge had already been subbed out earlier and the ball went straight out of bounds, leading to the turnover that preserved the 101-97 triumph for TNT two days ago. 

“I didn’t even think about it, but it was good to come out and get a win,” Hodge said when asked about making an impact after his Game 3 boo-boo. “I’ll do whatever coach asks me to do and I’m really happy.” 

“We knew it was either win or go home so we all came out with super energy, super intensity, and we just wanted to do whatever it takes to push it to a Game 5.”

Although his numbers did not pop out, Hodge affected the game beyond what the statistics showed as proven by his game-high plus-minus of +22. 

Hodge also provided some pesky defense on top of KaTropa gunners KJ McDaniels and Troy Rosario.

“I know my shot isn’t the greatest and I know I’m not going to contribute offensively, but I know I can play good defense,” Hodge said. 

He added: “[I can] get my team energy, play as hard as I can, do whatever coach wants me to do defensively, let my shooters shoot, and let AD do what he does.” 

With no team being able to win back-to-back games in the series, Meralco will try to do just that when it tangles with TNT in the do-or-die Game 5 on Monday, December 23, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“It’s going to be a hard-fought game. I feel like they’re going to come out super aggressive, we’re going to come out super aggressive,” Hodge said. 

“We’re just going to do whatever it takes to try and win the series.” – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.