Know Your Bolts: Cliff Hodge

Years in the PBA: 3
Joined Bolts in: 2012 – drafted 4th overall
Achievements: Gold in SEA Games

How did you get started with the sport of basketball?

I think when I started playing basketball, it was more to get friends, I guess, and then to be noticed in school, so that was pretty much how I started. But I then I sort of fell in love with the game over time.

Playing basketball wasn’t even in my plan growing up. It was just a sport, something that I liked to do. And then from each different level, I kind of got a little bit better. From high school my plan was going to the military, from the jump because, my dad was in the military, so I wanted to kind of be like my dad. From high school I only got one offer, so I was like, ‘alright might as well go to college.’ So then form there, I went to another college that offered me, and then from there I got noticed from out here, so then I just kept going.

What is your favorite aspect of the game?

Just winning. I mean, it always feels good when you win at something, so I think that’s pretty much the reason why I do it. So anything competitive, I always want to win, that’s why I play so hard.

What does it mean to you to be playing in the PBA?

Oh, it’s great. Like I said, I wasn’t really expecting to play professional basketball, but since the opportunity arose, it’s great, all my friends from back home are like, ‘What, you’re playing professional basketball!?’ So it’s crazy how things just happen sometimes, it’s amazing.

What does it mean to be playing for the Meralco Bolts?

Ever since I was young I’ve always wanted to stay on one team, so now that I’m here, and I feel like we have a chance to build something nice with the new management, coaches, it feels good to be part of the start of something and hopefully we could build into it, and where we want to be in the championship team

Strengths you bring to the team:

I’d say right now, probably energy. I’m starting to learn the leadership role. But yeah, just energy and just trying to bring the competitive spirit out of everyone more on the court.

What are your expectations with the team?

We’re coming together little by little. It’s more about – I feel like – chemistry and learning each other. I mean, we haven’t been through a season like this since I’ve been here, where we kept everyone without trading anybody every season, so I feel like everyone’s just trying to learn each other, and we’re learning how to win. Especially with our new coach, he’s been bringing in the defensive mentality that we’ve been needing. This past conference, we’ve been the number one defensive team until the semifinals where Rain or Shine was hot. I feel like we’re all hard workers, and I feel like everyone likes each other. We all hang out and it’s a good transition to where we’re trying to get.

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