PBA All-Star

Better late than never: Hodge proud to crack PBA All-Star Game for 1st time

Delfin Dioquino

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Better late than never: Hodge proud to crack PBA All-Star Game for 1st time

LAYUP. Cliff Hodge in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Cliff Hodge, 36, earns a PBA All-Star selection for the first time in his 12-year professional career

BACOLOD, Philippines – They say good things come when you least expect them.

That proved to be true for Meralco veteran Cliff Hodge as he got named PBA All-Star for the first time in his 12-year professional career.

Earning the nod from the media and coaches, the 36-year-old forward bolsters Team Mark in its bid to deny Team Japeth a second straight win in the All-Star Game at the University of St. La Salle gym on Sunday, March 24.

“I really thought after a certain point that I would never make an All-Star team,” said Hodge.

“Because as you get older, you don’t expect it. I was just so used to not making it that finally making it in my 12th year is crazy and a testament to the hard work that I put in.”

“I’m proud of myself for finally making it. It’s one thing I can mark off my resume.”

Hodge has been one of the most reliable big men in the PBA since he entered the league in 2012, claiming a pair of All-Defensive Team inclusions in 2021 and 2023 on top of a Mythical Second Team selection in 2017.

It is no secret, though, that fans gravitate towards players who are either offensive-oriented or those who come from the more popular teams.

Offense is not particularly his cup of tea.

Fact is, Hodge breached double digits in scoring average only twice over the past 10 conferences, instead making his presence felt for the Bolts in rebounds and in intangibles like hustle and defensive tenacity.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be part of it. But then as I got older, I didn’t really mind. I was really focused in getting a championship and not individual accolades. If they come, they come. If they don’t, they don’t,” said Hodge.

“I think the times that you don’t make it actually build character and make you a better person. By not making the All-Star Game has forced me to keep pushing and pushing and getting better.”

As he makes his maiden All-Star appearance, Hodge wants to show something new.

“I’m just going to do what I usually do, play hard, try to get some stops. I might shoot a little bit. It should be fun,” he said.

“I’ll shoot a few,” Hodge added when asked if he plans to take three-pointers. “I don’t know if I’ll make them, but I’ll try to shoot.” – 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.