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    Eric Menk earns 'warrior' tag after playing through a broken nose - without a mask

    Nov 27, 2015

    COACH Alex Compton has called veteran big man Eric Menk as a ‘warrior’ for refusing to wear a facial mask despite playing with a broken nose in Alaska’s 89-81 win over NLEX in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night.

    But for Menk, suiting up against the Road Warriors was fueled more by his desire to enjoy the game in the twilight of a long, colorful career.

    The cut on the bridge of his nose still visible, the 6-foot-6 forward-center shrugged off the pain and went about his business, finishing with nine points and six rebounds in the Aces’ sixth win in seven outings in this all-Filipino conference.

    He also played for 23 minutes off the bench just two days after a wayward elbow by Star forward Marc Pingris left him with a broken nose in a 107-102 Alaska win.

    “I definitely just want to play. I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna be able to play. When I got hit, I thought that could be the end of the season for me. I was really worried about that,” Menk admitted.

    [See Rampaging Alaska beats NLEX to book quarterfinal ticket, assume solo lead]

    Good thing doctors advised him that no surgery is needed.

    “I was relieved to find out that wasn’t the case. I wanna play as many games as I can before I call it a day.”

    The former league MVP said doctors found out there was only a small fracture on the right side of his nose that doesn’t require surgery like before when he was out of commission for a month after also breaking the same part of his face while playing for San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

    Continue reading below ↓

    Menk said he didn’t have problem breathing during practice. While he was advised to wear a mask, Menk decided it would be better not to have one.

    “They couldn’t get one made in time. And they told me that if I wear a mask and I got hit it would still do damage to my nose,” he stressed. “So I figured out why wear a mask in the hope that I won’t get hit.”

    And did someone from NLEX try to hit him? A smiling Menk mentioned two prominent names.

    “I think Enrico (Villanueva) and Rob Reyes. I think he really tried to hit me one time,” said the veteran forward while letting out a loud laugh.

    Other than enjoying the game, Menk appreciates that he still get to play mano-a-mano against old rival and good pal Asi Taulava.

    “It’s good,” he said of the match-up against his former San Miguel teammate. “I don’t know how many more times we're gonna be out there, so it’s always good to play against the older guys.”

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