Friday, September 14, 2012
Cliff Hodge Updates
The No. 4 overall pick came away with 27 points to lead all scorers in Meralco’s tuneup game Friday against Rain or Shine to lead all scorers.
“He had 19 points in our first tune up game, 24 in our second tune up match and 27 today,” Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio told interAKTV. “This guy keeps improving game by game.”
The coach said even though the Filipino-American had been a star in the PBA D-League, there were still things about Hodge’s game that came as a pleasant surprise.
“He surprised me with his perimeter game. I had no idea he can take those 20-footers. My recollection of Hodge is he’s an aggressive player,” said Gregorio.
“People felt that Hodge is a cross in between a power forward and a wingman, but this guy makes up for being an undersized forward with his athleticism and enthusiasm.”
Gregorio is installing a free-flowing offense for the Bolts, which plays to the strengths of Hodge.
“If you noticed, there were instances when we played with four small men with Hodge playing center. But that benefits Hodge, particularly on the offensive end. This offense gives players freedom,” said Gregorio.
“There’s no absolute freedom, but it’s a freedom to do the right things.”
The new system also gave a lot of scoring opportunities for Sunday Salvacion, who was acquired by the Bolts along with Carlo Sharma in a trade that sent Jason Ballesteros to Barako Bull.
“He spread the floor well for us,” said Gregorio. “Imagine if you have a Sol Mercado there who can break the defense, then it will give good looks to Sunday, Mac Mac [Cardona] and Hodge.”