MANILA, Philippines – Meralco’s energetic rookie Cliff Hodge earned the first Player of the Week nod of his career after leading the Bolts to two wins over the Alaska Aces and crowd-favorite Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Hodge, taken by Meralco with the fourth pick in the 2012 Rookie Draft, averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.5 assists for the period of October 8-14 while providing several hustle plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio told PBA.ph that the award “speaks volumes of (Hodge’s) significant contributions to our team.”
“The tangible contributions are quite obvious: team leader in points, rebounds and blocks,” he said. “But the biggest impact he brings to the table is his limitless energy.”
“His enthusiasm is rubbing off on all members of the team that is beyond numbers and statistics,” Gregorio added.
Hodge had a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Bolts’ 93-86 win over Alaska last Wednesday, and then tallied 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals as the Bolts rallied to defeat Ginebra, 95-88, last Saturday.
In his very first game as a pro, Hodge already showed what he is capable of as he scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Bolts’ 110-112 loss to Talk 'N Text.
“His intensity is also felt by the other teams,” said Gregorio. “In fact, he has been a target of rough-housing, dirty tactics and throwdowns. In spite of all these, he continues to play through.”
“The most amazing trait that he has is his ability to keep his emotions in check and just continue to play the ball and not the man,” he added.
Hodge, meanwhile, stressed that his teammates also deserve the credit.
“It’s a team game and I would like to thank my teammates for their hard work in both games because I wouldn’t be getting this award without them,” Hodge said. “It was a total team effort in both games.”
Hodge is the first rookie to win the weekly award since Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee won it twice in the previous season.