Cliff Hodge denied the allegations of some Brgy. Ginebra fans that he was out to hurt the team’s players, particularly Justin Brownlee.
The energetic Meralco forward has been on the receiving end of vilifying remarks from supporters of the league’s most popular squad after his landing spot foul on the resident Gin Kings reinforcement during the payoff period of Game 2.
While the move was classified as a regular foul by game officials, Hodge still drew the ire of the Ginebra faithful as Brownlee grimaced in pain and took some time on the floor after the incident. The fall, fortunately, wasn’t as bad as it seems as the leading contender for the Best Import award simply shrugged it off and proceeded to lead the team to victory.
Aside from Brownlee, Hodge also had run-ins with Scottie Thompson, Christian Standhardinger and LA Tenorio.
“I’m a basketball player. If we’re going to beat Ginebra, I want to beat Ginebra full force. I’m not going to try to injure anyone, ever, when I play. That is one thing,” explained the 34-year old Fil-Am.
“If you know me personally, I’m not trying to injure anyone,” he added.
The 4th overall pick of the Bolts during the 2012 draft insisted that the incidents were purely accidental and that Brownlee even acknowledged his apology.
“I would never do that – I even apologized to Brownlee. I was trying to get around the screen. There were three seconds on the shot clock, I went up to challenge. We were both vertical and we both came down at the same time,” explained Hodge.
“So, I did not know where his feet were going, and he just accidentally landed on my foot. I felt bad that it happened, but I apologized to him.”
Regardless of what the fans throw at him, Hodge plans to play with the same intensity and energy level in order to help Meralco celebrate its first-ever PBA title.
“We’re both trying to win a championship. Some things are going to happen. If I get hit in the face or I get hit in the head, I’m not going to be like. I’m not going to stop playing. This is winning time,” he stressed.
“I’ve never won a championship in ten years, and I’m going to keep playing as hard as I can.”