by Waylon Galvez
Eric Menk wants to play and is just waiting for the signal so he can don his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel uniform again.
The 6-foot-6 Menk, the PBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2005, is on the reserve list of the Kings.
At the moment, Ginebra has 13 players out of the allowed 14 in the official lineup after Menk’s buddy Rudy Hatfield announced his retirement several days before the start of this conference.
Though Ginebra has an opening for another player, the team appears not in a hurry to fill the slot even as Menk made known that his services are available.
“I’m ready to play anytime they want me back,” said Menk, who turned 39 last Saturday.
“Yes, I still have a contract with the team (until end of the conference), so if they ask me to play, yes I’m ready to play,” he added.
There were reports that Menk will rejoin the team practice last Tuesday, but the call for him to report never happened.
Menk said he has not had any contact with anyone from Ginebra but he remains hopeful.
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to anyone. I heard about it (plans of bringing me back), but no calls or anything,” said Menk, whose wife Erin will give birth to a baby girl, their first, and her name will be Alexa.
With no calls and no contact from anyone, it is unlikely Menk will be asked to report for duty. A source said that Ginebra is keeping its roster to 13 players, with no plans to add or trade any player since the conference is just short.
Menk said it has been three months since he last touched a basketball, or since June 12 when the San Miguel Beermen held their final practice session to prepare for Game 3 of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Finals against the Indonesia Warriors.
SMB won the do-or-die game, but Menk did not play a single minute.
Menk said he’s still hopeful that he will be given a chance to play in the PBA again, and end his career with Ginebra.
“If you’re a basketball player in the Philippines, all you want to do is to play in the PBA, and play with the most popular ball club in the league,” said Menk, who has career averages of almost 14 points and 10 rebounds in 13 PBA seasons, including 10 with the Kings.
Together with Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and later Hatfield, Menk was part of four PBA championships with Ginebra, the last was during the 2008 Fiesta Cup when they beat Air21 Express in seven games.