HE’S been to a lot of wars in his 16-year PBA career.
But Eric Menk swears it’s a whole lot different battling Rain or Shine’s notorious ‘Extra Rice Inc.’ frontline as what he had been enduring in Alaska’s ongoing PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against the Elasto Painters.
The 41-year-old Menk went up against the bruising pair of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan – plus a little bit of Raymond Almazan and Jervy Cruz – in Game Two of the best-of-seven duel on a day resident big man Sonny Thoss had an off night for Alaska.
While Menk ended up as the Aces’ leading scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds to boot in a 102-95 losing cause, the former league MVP attested it’s not exactly pretty banging bodies with Rain or Shine’s noted physical big men.
“It’s not a lot of fun. It’s tough down there,” said Menk while shaking his head a bit but with a ready smile on his face. “Those guys are physical.”
The Fil-Am native of Michigan, who’s obviously getting a second wind in his playing career at Alaska, had waged war with great big men in the past in the likes of Asi Taulava, Marlou Aquino, Kelly Williams, Kerby Raymundo, among others. And he declares Belga and Quinahan are just as good as them, although the two may not be as heralded as Taulava and Co.
“They’ve been around for a while. They know how to play,” he said of the two Rain or Shine burly centers. “These guys are good. They are good then (Taulava, et al), and they (Belga and Quinahan)are good now.”
Of course, the age factor is also catching up with Menk, who played 26 minutes in the Game Two loss.
“I’m older now, so it’s making it more difficult for me,” he noted.
To be able to sustain his pace and for Alaska to get past the Elasto Painters and advance in the All-Filipino Finals, Menk said the Aces need all the inside help they can get from the 6-foot-7 Thoss.
“He had a great Game One, but he was as effective as he was (in Game Two). Hes’ one of our main guys and we’re gonna need him if we’re gonna win this series,” said Menk.