OGIE Menor has made a surprise appearance for Team Batangas in the D-League Aspirants Cup, saying he was inspired to give the PBA another shot after mentor Franz Pumaren's own comeback in the pro league.
resumed his bid for a PBA comeback as he made his debut with Team Batangas in the D-League Aspirants Cup on Thursday.
Menor bared that he only returned to the Philippines last week after he pursued other opportunities in the United States, particularly coaching, driven to start over and give another go at it in the PBA.
“May jet lag pa nga ako eh,” said Menor, the sixth overall peak in the 2009 PBA draft. “Challenge sa akin ‘to. Parang nangarap uli ako galing college, tapos laro sa D-League para makalaro sa PBA.”
The former San Beda star admitted the return of Pumaren as head coach in the PBA through GlobalPort prompted his decision to get back home and take another shot at the pros.
Years ago, Pumaren nearly recruited Menor out of the Red Cubs to play for La Salle, but he opted to stay in San Beda.
The six-year PBA veteran, who last played for Blackwater before moving to the US, also shared that he stayed in shape while in Florida working as a coach and a personal trainer. But he was more motivated to get game-ready because of Pumaren.
“Actually siya talaga ‘yung naging guide ko para makabalik ako. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kapag bumalik si Coach Franz sa PBA, gusto kong bumalik kahit hindi niya ako kunin. Siya talaga ang batayan ko para magpakundisyon uli,” said Menor.
Menor said he attended a recent GlobalPort practice where he was advised to play in the D-League first. Incidentally, one of Pumaren’s assistant coaches, Eric Gonzales, is the head coach of Team Batangas.
The controversial 6-foot-2 cager said he is giving his all this time, giving himself two to three years to return to the PBA, believing that he still has what it takes in that period of time to make it back to the pros.
“Gusto ko lang laruin ‘yung remaining years ko sa basketball. Two to three years, kaya ko pa. Baka pag 34 na ako, hindi na ako makabalik,” said the 30-year-old Menor.
In his first game back in the Philippines, Menor had a respectable outing with nine points, five rebounds, and two assists in Batangas’ loss to AMA, 101-95. But he pointed out he is still far from the level of play he wants to perform in the D-League.
“Wala pa sa kundisyon. Nagpapakundisyon naman ako pero iba pa rin ‘yung sa team na nagpa-practice,” said Menor.
But once he’s in game shape, Menor believes there is still gas left in the tank, citing his defense and his leadership skills will help him with Team Batangas as well as in his PBA bid.
“Number one pa rin ‘yung depensa. Hindi na ako nangagarap na maging superstar. Ang mindset ko is maging role player,” Menor said.