GLOBALPORT veteran Eric Menk hasn’t recorded a double-double in the PBA for so long that he was lost for words when asked if he could remember the last time he played well the way he did Sunday night against Alaska.
“It’s been a long time, a very long time,” he said in between laughs inside the Batang Pier dugout at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum moments following the team’s rousing 91-88 win in overtime against the Aces that earned the franchise at least a playoff for a quarterfinal berth in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
The former league Most Valuable Player finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes of action as he had to play extended minutes in the absence of injured big man Jay Washington.
The playing time he had was also his longest since returning to the league at the start of the season after a stint with San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) last year.
“The thing was, when I was playing before I can get to 10 points but I was having trouble getting rebounds. And this season, I have some good rebounding games, but I have trouble getting 10 points. It took me until the 13th game to finally figure out how to score,” said Menk.
Despite his playing minutes stretched a bit against the Aces, Menk isn’t complaining.
“It feels good to play well again. I was ok. I was just trying to go hard as I can when I’m out there but I felt really good,” said the 39-year-old forward.
Globalport coach Richie Ticzon said he was more concerned about the conditioning aspect of Menk, who’s one of the most senior players still active in the league.
“Yung conditioning part talaga ang iniisip namin sa kanya. But he’s been playing quality minutes and playing very well,” said the young coach. “Hinahanapan lang talaga namin siya ng time na bumalik.”
Apparently, it came at the expense of the Aces as Menk alternately tried to find a way of stopping big man Sonny Thoss along with teammate Jondan Salvador.
The fine showing by the 6-foot-6 former Ginebra stalwart made him the latest in a number of veterans who seemed to find a new lease of life on their pro careers after Asi Taulava, Danny Seigle, Dorian Pena, and of late, Danny Ildefonso.
“It’s nice to be part of the `Old Veterans Movement’ that has been happening,” he said with a big grin.
“It’s little motivating for sure. I cheer for those guys to do well. But I’m just trying to help our team to improve and get better.”
As the most veteran in a young franchise, Menk said he wants to lead by example especially among Globalport’s platoon of rookies in Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Justin Chua, LA Revilla, and Nico Salva.
“We’ve been showing flashes of being good, and we’ve been showing flashes of being bad. I just want to give the team some stability, some leadership, and help the franchise move along,” said Menk.
“Making the playoffs will be big for us.”