Fil-American big man Eric Menk hopes he’ll be back for his 17th year in the PBA when the pro league kicks off its 42nd season on November 20.
Nicknamed “Major Pain”, the 42-year-old Menk was told recently by Alaska management that he won’t be offered a contract extension, making him a free agent this offseason.
“One thing for sure, I won’t be back for Alaska (next season). They told me they are not going to re-sign me so that’s why I don’t know, but it depends if I can get on another team or not,” Menk told FOX Sports on Monday.
The 2005 PBA Most Valuable Player played 43 games in his second year with Alaska this season, averaging a career-low 3.30 points, 3.23 rebounds and 0.49 assists in 13.14 minutes.
Menk said he was happy to have been part of Alaska, a team that played in three Finals appearances the last two seasons.
“It would have been nice to win one or more championships, but I have nothing bad to say with Alaska. Alex Compton has done a great job there. I wish those guys nothing but the best,” said the former Lake Superior State standout.
But Menk has no plans of retiring despite playing limited minutes with the Aces this past season.
“I’m leaving it (options) open. Of course, the PBA is a great job. Everyone wants to play in the PBA and if something good comes my way now, I’ll listen and certainly entertain the offer if at all,” shared Menk, who first entered the pro league as a direct-hired player of the then comebacking Tanduay Rhum.
Menk is just one of four active players left in the 1999 rookie batch. The others include NLEX evergreen big man Asi Taulava, Menk’s former Alaska teammate Tony dela Cruz and TNT’s Danny Seigle.
And though he has been out of Ginebra, the team he helped win three league titles during his 10-year stint, Menk admitted he still receives heartwarming messages from solid Kings fans via Twitter and Instagram.
“I get a lot of comments whether on Twitter or Instagram and Youtube, the Ginebra fans, they’ve always given me a lot of love. They wanted to see me back in Ginebra, but I’m not in charge over there,” shared Menk, a member of the Ginebra team that won the franchise’s last PBA crown in the 2008 Fiesta Conference.
“But I was surprised by it, because I haven’t been there for a long time. It has been nice to hear from the fans to see me continue to play.”
But for now, while his status remains uncertain, Menk said he’ll try to stay in shape and hope he gets a call from an interested PBA team. – Richard Dy
Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava