DOZENS of fans gathered around Eric Menk at the end of Ginebra's preseason match against Alaska on Saturday at the Reyes Gym, showing how thrilled they were to see the veteran center strotting on court once again in a Kings' jersey even for just a fleeting moment.
Chances of Menk playing for Ginebra when the season starts remains dim, though.
Barely two days after coming back from a five-week vacation with his family in Michigan, the 6-5 Fil-American was pleasantly surprised when Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen called his name and asked him to play in the final five minutes of the first half against the Aces.
Menk made no field goal attempts and grabbed a solitary rebound, but was thrilled to simply be back on court.
"I wasn't really expecting to get in the game since I just had my first practice with the team yesterday (Friday). But it's really nice to be back," Menk told Spin.ph
The former league MVP signed a fresh extension with the Kings prior to coming over and he said he kept himself in top shape during his vacation by lifting weights and running four times a week.
However, there are no guarantees that he will be able to make the regular lineup this season in a team that has suddenly become deep in the frontline with rookies Chris Ellis and Keith Jensen joining Kerby Raymundo, Billy Mamaril and Rudy Hatfield, who like Menk played his first preseason game on Saturday.
Ginebra management, in fact, has bared that Menk's most likely destination will be the Asean Basketball League with the San Miguel Beermen.
Menk, though, is preparing himself for the season, regardless of where he ends up.
A stint with the Beermen in the ABL may even be good, he said, since it would reunite him with good friend Asi Taulava, who recently snubbed a two-year maximum offer by Meralco in favor of a three-year deal with the SMC club.
Menk and Taulava played together in two national teams.
"It would really be fun playing again with Asi. He's such a great player. He takes a lot of pressure off my shoulder when we played in the national team back in 2002 and 2007," said 'Major Pain.'
Retirement is also in Menk's mind, but if he has his way it won't happen this year. The 38-year-old said he plans to play one more season at the end of his current contract before calling it a career.