HE may not be the same Eric Menk that dominated the paint with Barangay Ginebra, but the resurgence of old pal Asi Taulava’s in the Commissioner’s Cup has inspired him to get better in the season-ending Governors Cup.
“You have to admire the guy. I know how I feel. I’m almost 40, he’s 41,” said Menk, who joined Asia’s first play-for-pay basketball league at the same time as Taulava in 1999.
“It’s amazing what he’s done, good for him. I root for all the vets, I root for the Dannys (Ildefonso and Seigle) and Asis. I’m like the Team Veteran,” added Menk, now with GlobalPort.
Taulava averaged 17.6 points and 12.2 rebounds during the semifinals, helping Air21 stretch San Mig Super Coffee to the limit in the best-of-five series.
The six-foot-five Menk missed the entire Commissioner’s Cup due to a hamstring injury, reducing him to a cheerleader at the Batang Pier bench.
The Batang Pier, only in their second season in the PBA, finished dead last in the mid-season conference with a woeful 1-8 win-loss record.
Menk is now working his way back into game shape, and the former Lake Superior State standout hopes he could do in the season-ending Governors Cup what Taulava has done in the second conference.
“It (Taulava’s solid performance) is inspiring. I always want to play well, no matter what, but whenever you see one of those guys play well, you think in your head, hey, maybe if I’m given the same opportunity, maybe I’ll do the same, it’s human nature to think that way,” explained Menk, who turns 40 this August.
Menk said Globalport coach Pido Jarencio wants him to take a bigger role, a challenge he’s embracing.
A three-time Finals MVP and one-time PBA MVP during his prime with Ginebra, Menk averaged 4.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in the 15 games he has played so far this season.