Hodge takes blame for late-game blunder as Meralco nears semis exit
MANILA, Philippines – Cliff Hodge took the blame for the Allen Durham turnover that doomed Meralco in Game 3 of its semifinals series against TNT in the PBA Governors' Cup on Thursday, December 19.
Trailing 97-100 with less than 30 seconds remaining, the Bolts had a chance to knot the score after Roger Pogoy missed both of his free throws for the KaTropa, only to witness Durham commit the costly mistake.
Hodge was in the wrong place at the wrong time as he stood along the sidelines with his hands up as if signaling he was open for the game-tying three-pointer, leading to Durham dishing the ball in his direction.
But Hodge had already been subbed out earlier and could not catch the ball.
Jayson Castro then sealed the win for the other side with a free throw, 101-97.
"I was hoping we would've made a shot to put it on overtime. AD saw my jersey and he thought I was on the court so it was my fault," said Hodge.
Durham admitted he did not realize Hodge was not part of the play.
"I had the ball and I just saw a white jersey from my peripheral. Cliff was over there with his hands up. I don't know what happened," Durham said.
"But I just saw it so I tried to swing the ball, but he wasn't in the playing court."
Durham, though, was quick to note that it should not have come to the point where Meralco relied on only one possession to win, especially since it led by as much as 13 points in the first half.
Thanks to the turnover and its second-half comeback, TNT is now a win away from the finals as it seized a commanding 2-1 lead in the best-of-five affair.
"Even though we could've tied it or something if we made a shot, we got to be better before it gets down to a play like that," Durham said.
Hodge, meanwhile, has his attention turned to forcing a winner-take-all match when the Bolts meet the KaTropa in knockout Game 4 on Saturday, December 21, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
"[C]loseout games [are] the hardest to win. We don't want to lose. So we're going to give it all we got. They made their adjustments, we'll make ours, and hopefully we can push it to Game 5," Hodge said. – Rappler.com