Game 7 will be ‘just another game’ for Meralco’s Cliff Hodge

Meralco Bolts' Cliff Hodge dives for the ball during a PBA Philippine Cup semifinals game against Ginebra Gin Kings.

Meralco Bolts’ Cliff Hodge dives for the ball during a PBA Philippine Cup semifinals game against Ginebra Gin Kings. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Ginebra and Meralco are headed for a win-or-home Game 7 in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals. Surprisingly, Cliff Hodge will be approaching it like just another game.

With the Bolts and Gin Kings fighting for the final seat in the PBA Finals with pressure on both squad’s shoulders, but Hodge would rather just stay focused on the task at hand and not the enormity of it.

“Honestly, I’m just going to treat it as just another game,” said Hodge with Inquirer Sports after Meralco’s 86-81 win over Ginebra in Game 6 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

READ: ‘Sana kami naman’: Meralco hopes to change the script vs Ginebra

“I’ll just go out there, stay focused, follow the game plan, trust my teammates and work my butt off. If we win, I’ll be happy. If we lose, I’ll be sad.”

Hodge is not one for being too emotional despite being very animated on the court.

For him, it’s all about winning and giving his squad honor in victory.

So when the Bolts were looking down the barrel of elimination, Hodge did a little bit of everything to force a Game 7 with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal for a cherry on top of the sweet victory.

READ: PBA: Determined to win this time, Bong Quinto does it all for Meralco

But it wasn’t easy getting there as he had to bump and bang with Ginebra big men Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar.

“It was tough,” recalled the grizzled veteran.

“I just had to go in with the mindset that we could do it, being all on the same page, limiting our mistakes, following the game plan and playing as hard as we can. That’s all you can really do in any of these games; give it your all and if we win, we win. If we lose, we lose but at least we left it all out there,” he added.

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Standhardinger and Aguilar were too much for Hodge to contain as they both finished with 19 points each but at the end of the day, it was the Bolts who came out on top after 48 minutes of intense action.