ALAB Pilipinas didn’t only bolster its roster on the court, it also added another star on the bench.
Former PBA MVP Eric Menk is the newest Alab assistant coach, joining of Danny Seigle, Mac Cuan and MC Abolucion as the deputies of coach Jimmy Alapag.
“I’m still getting used to it. Somebody called me ‘coach Eric’ outside and I just had to double take to make sure they were talking to me, I’m still getting used to the title,” said Menk who joined Alab practice only three weeks ago.
“Last year was tough, they asked me last year and I was busy with some things. It was a bit of a tough decision but I can only say no to Jimmy so many times. So when management asked me as well, I was happy to join their team,” he added.
For Alapag, Menk’s addition is certainly a huge boost as Alab looks to become the first team to successfully defend a title in the regional basketball league.
“Eric, from all of our times competing against each other and even our brief time playing with the national team, he’s always been one of the players I’ve had an incredible amount of respect for. For what he’s done for the league and his work ethic and how he carried himself as a player but what a lot of people don’t know is that he’s a great basketball mind,” Alapag said.
“He’s very very knowledgeable about the game and he’s ability to not only work with our big guys but basically our entire team and share his experience and what he knows about the game,” he added.
Alapag was the face of the Talk ‘N Text franchise for a while, and it was Menk and Seigle, playing for Ginebra and San Miguel, respectively, who turned out to be his biggest competitors.
All of them also had great team and individual success as between the them are 18 championships and nine Finals MVPs.
But what if that partnership actually materialized on the hard court? Say around 2005 when Menk won his MVP as Alapag and Seigle were also taking names in the domestic league? It would have been pretty fun.
“Not a bad team, they would have made my job pretty easy. I’d just give them the ball,” said Alapag.
Seigle pretty much had the same assessment when asked about how that team-up would have been, saying they would have given people fits back in the court. He also has the same sentiments too about their partnership as coaches.
“I think we would have been very competitive. I think we actually liked playing against each other. We’re all competitors and we all went to lead our teams to championships so I mean we brought out the best out of us,” said Seigle.
“We’re from different basketball schools, we had our own success on different teams so it’s fun to bounce off ideas that comes from different perspectives,” he added.
Menk is pretty optimistic about their chances.
“We always used to talk about that. I think the three of us were to have worked very very well on the court,” Menk said.
“We couldn’t form a dream team while playing but hopefully we can form a dream team while coaching.”