Jun 08, 2024

Hodge willing to take offensive load anew for Meralco

CLIFF Hodge showed his offensive side in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals Friday night between Meralco and San Miguel.

And given the chance to do it again, the veteran forward won't hesitate to be active offensively again if that's what would need for the Bolts to win a first ever league championship.

"It's just that the opportunities were there and whenever they're there I'll take them. It's what their defense was doing for us and they're leaving me open, so I was taking advantage of that," explained Hodge.

"As I've said I'm going to do whatever I can to try to win this first championship and we still got the chance."

Hodge, 36, exploded for a season-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field while adding nine rebounds in a performance that was spoiled by San Miguel's 95-94 comeback win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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He had 17 in the first half alone when he carried the load for Meralco offensively.

The Bolts were actually 25 seconds away from taking a 2-0 lead in the title series when they led, 93-89, following a clutch three pointer by Chris Banchero.

But the defending champion willed its way back and found a way to snatch away the win behind the back-breaking consecutive 3s by CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter to tie the finals at one-game apiece.

Hodge naturally rued the last-second meltdown of the Bolts against a team which he said 'has been through the fire.'

"We have them on the ropes, we're playing great, we're playing team basketball. We just got them on that, when you have somebody down, you make sure you finish the job. We'll learn from this. It was a big loss but I think it will make us more resilient," said Hodge.

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"It's going to be a long series. Forget about this loss, we all came out and played hard, and we'll be ready on Sunday." (RG)