A REJUVENATED Erik Menk is pleased to get another shot at winning a league championship with Alaska, admitting that he doesn’t really know how long he could put up the same numbers he’s producing for the Aces.
The Aces are one win away from a place in the Philippine Cup Finals and the one-time PBA MVP hopes he could sustain his fine play and help lift the franchise to the title.
In the ongoing semifinals where Alaska enjoys a 3-2 lead over Rain or Shine, Menk is averaging 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 21 minutes of action, numbers that show the 40-year-old Fil-American nicknamed 'Major Pain' can still be a major headache for rival teams.
“I don’t know how much longer I can continue to do this. But it’s just good to be part of a good team with great teammates, and I owe it a lot to the management which traded for me. I love it here (Alaska),” he said.
A title will be the first for Menk since 2008 when he helped Ginebra win the Fiesta Conference. That incidentally was Ginebra’s last PBA championship, where Menk was adjudged the Finals MVP.
But it has been a struggle after that and Menk is pleased to finally be where his skills and stamina fit, in a reserve role with title contender Alaska after unsuccessful stints elsewhere.
“I just feel really lucky on this (Alaska) team. And fortunate to have my health back. It’s just good to be back in the mix because I spent a year in the ABL (Asean Basketball League), then, my last year in Ginebra, I never played, while my last year with GlobalPort, when I played, we didn’t make the playoffs,” he added.
Menk admires the strength and vitality his batch mate and current NLEX big man Asi Taulava enjoys at the ripe, old age of 42. The Alaska forward hopes he could do the same although while the Fil-Tongan is heavily relied on as a starter for the expansion club, the Fil-American has done great off the bench for 13-time champion Alaska.
“I feel good and I’m happy contributing the way that I am on a good team. My role is a lot different than obviously when I was younger, that’s to relieve Sonny (Thoss). And Sonny’s been playing well,” said Menk.
Alaska goes for the jugular on January 4 when it plays Game Six against Rain or Shine. A win would vault the Aces back to the Finals since winning the 2013 Governors Cup championship under then head coach Luigi Trillo.