Cliff Hodge believes past heartbreaks against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will serve Meralco well going into their fourth meeting for the PBA Governors’ Cup crown.
The harrowing experience of being on the losing end of all previous meetings has not deterred the veteran forward, saying that it has made Bolts more steadfast in hoping that this time would be their time.
“Each time we lost, we take it as ‘Okay, what can we learn from this?’” Hodge said. “We gotten more mature and I feel like we've gotten more focused on what we need to do to win games.
“For me, it all comes down to that fourth quarter. If we can manage that fourth quarter, if you don’t turn the ball over, if you get points, you get rebounds, if you get stops.
“I feel like we’ve learned to win as a group, and I think that’s gonna be big for us, especially with these games — you never know — gonna be down to the wire, it’s gonna be one possession, how do you manage the clock in the fourth quarter.
“So I feel like those are the main things we’ve learned throughout all these losses,” he added.
Hodge is one of four Meralco players who have been in all title setbacks opposite the Gin Kings, joining Chris Newsome, Reynel Hugnatan and Anjo Caram.
The 6-foot-4, known for doing the dirty work, will play a key role in Meralco’s latest quest for a first PBA championship.
But as a collective unit, Hodge said Meralco should be wary of what Ginebra can do, aside from factors out of their control.
“It all comes down to defense, rebounds and controlling our emotions also because you’re playing Ginebra,” he said. “They can go on crazy runs and when the crowd gets involved, they’ll feed off of that.
“So if we could just focus on getting stops, get good shots, and not turn the ball over, I think that would be the key to the series,” Hodge added.