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Tiebreaker Times


Cliff Hodge hopes he won’t need stitches for busted lip

Cliff Hodge isn’t really fond of going to the hospital, although he wouldn’t mind doing so if needed after getting hurt in battle Thursday night.

The bruising forward suffered a busted lip during the fourth quarter of Meralco’s PBA Governors’ Cup match versus NorthPort, although he was able to come back and help his side gut out the 107-102 win to remain unbeaten.

“Hopefully, I don’t have to go there ’cause going to the hospital sucks. But if I need stitches, then I’ll get it,” he said after the game at the Philsports Arena.

Play was stopped at the 8:55-mark of the aforementioned period when Hodge inadvertently got hit in the mouth by Marcus Weathers.

The Batang Pier import attacked the 34-year-old’s defense and went for a layup, and his right elbow grazed the latter’s face as he descended.

Hodge had to be subbed out to stop the bleeding on his upper lip but wasn’t out for long as he was brought back into the game with 7:26 left.

He would go on to play a key role in extinguishing Northport’s fiery late-game rally by holding Weathers scoreless in the final 1:31.

Defending the American winger was his primary assignment, after all, and he sure did his job after limiting him to 29 points and 14 rebounds — that, after finishing with 37 and 12 in a loss to Converge in their conference opener.

But Hodge definitely made his presence felt on the offensive end also. He contributed 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, together with nine rebounds and a pair of assists without a turnover in 32 minutes.

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No one was happier than head coach Norman Black to see his main guys such as Hodge perform after playing through pain during the Commissioner’s Cup.

“I really need my best players to be out on the court as much as possible,” he said. “Cliff was hurt last conference. He actually hurt himself two days before the start of the conference in a scrimmage game against Ginebra.

“And of course, [Chris] Newsome was out the entire conference. So, to have these two guys back is really big for us, and it gives us a much, much better chance at winning,” the champion mentor added.

Meralco goes back to action on Saturday against Terrafirma with a chance to stretch their streak to three, and Hodge is willing to play.

“We have a game on Saturday, so I might just gauze it up and play,” said the 11-year vet, who earned Player of the Game honors in the win.

Or with a mouthguard, perhaps.

“Maybe, I probably should,” he said. “I might invest in that.”

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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