Pacman GenSan Warriors picks Clifford Hodge as the No. 1 pick

By Jasmine W. Payo

FOREIGN PLAYERS WITH FILIPINO ROOTS emerged as the top three rookie picks in the Tournament of the Philippines, the amateur league recently formed by the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) and Liga Pilipinas slated on June 2.
The Pacman GenSan Warriors, the team owned by boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, made 22-year-old Clifford Hodge as the No. 1 pick among 47 hopefuls in the Rookie Draft Saturday at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City.
AgriNurture Inc.-FCA enlisted Kelly Berry second overall, while Pharex tabbed Stanley Pringle third to beef up their rosters in the new tournament set to field at least nine teams.
The 6-foot-5 Hodge, described as “a versatile and athletic player” from Hawaii, traces his Filipino lineage to his mother, who hails from Sulu.
Magnolia and Cobra round up the four PBL squads that joined the tournament that will serve as the backbone of the PBA’s proposed developmental league.

Teams from Cebu, Laguna, Misamis Oriental and Mandaue comprise the participating Liga members.
“This is the first joint project of the PBL and Liga and we’re confident this would be the start of something good for Philippine basketball, especially to its major stakeholders,” said PBL executive director Butch Maniego.
Liga Pilipinas’ Butch Antonio said teams from Taguig and Pampanga have yet to confirm their participation.
PBL powerhouses Hapee Toothpaste and Toyota Otis opted to see action in the next conference in October.
Excelroof, which copped the recent PBL title last March, also begged off since its core players from NCAA champion San Sebastian will suit up for the varsity league next month.
Pharex, the PBL runner-up last conference, enlisted two more Filipino-Americans in Sean Anthony and John Smith in the succeeding rounds.
Laguna tabbed former Letran player Jomar Datang, before selecting Martin Antonio in the next round.
Misamis Oriental selected Lance Beverette, while Cebu chose Shawn Weinstein to wrap up the first round


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