PBA: Norman Black proud of Cliff Hodge and his latest career milestone
MANILA, Philippines—Meralco forward Cliff Hodge had two things to celebrate on a Sunday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
First, he was awarded a career accolade after notching 1,000 offensive rebounds at halftime before the Bolts tripped the sreaking Magnolia, 86-84, in a highly-physical battle.
“Winning the award is something that comes along with staying healthy and having a long career here in the PBA. It’s pretty awesome to get that award but I’m just glad we got the win,” told Hodge.
The big man was two points away from a double-double with eight markers and 12 rebounds. Staying true to his achievement, eight of those 12 boards came by way of offensive rebounds.
The Filipino-American bruiser was also efficient in the field, sinking three of his six attempts for a 50 percent shooting clip while playing for 29 minutes on the court.
If there was anyone more proud of Hodge’s career achievement, it would be Meralco coach Norman Black.
“I’m very proud of Cliff. I’ve been with him for eight years now. I was also very proud of him for making the defensive team last year ‘cause I thought he deserved it,” said Black.
“He goes out there and battles every night. I keep telling him that as you get older, the floor will not be your best friend but he’s not listening to me because he still dives on the floor any chance he gets. I’m really proud of him. He’s a hard worker and he does it every day in practice and it shows up in the games.”
Black and Hodge began their player-mentor relationship back in 2014 when the former was given the reins of head coach for the Bolts.
Hodge, on the other hand, has donned the orange and white since the beginning of his PBA career. He was chosen by Meralco with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 PBA draft.
Named as “Mr. 100%” in his PBA stint, Black had remarkable numbers in the rebounding department as well, something Hodge poked fun at in the post game scrum.
“I’ll try to catch up to (coach) Norman’s rebounds,” the 35-year-old cager said in jest.
To which Black wittily replied: “You won’t. You have a long way to go.”
“Sorry, mayabang ako,” said the veteran mentor with a laugh.