Eric Conrad Menk (born August 24, 1974) is a Filipino-American professional basketball player who is currently a free agent. He last played for the Alaska Aces of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Known as Major Pain, Menk is a four-time PBA champion and was the 2004–05 PBA Most Valuable Player.
Menk had played for the Barangay Ginebra franchise for twelve seasons before being waived and signed by the San Miguel Beermen of the ASEAN Basketball League. He was eventually picked up by the Aces of the PBA, playing for them for two seasons before being waived again.
- 1 High school and college career
- 2 Professional career
- 3 PBA career statistics
- 4 International career
- 5 Controversy
- 6 References
High school and college career
Menk attended Charlotte High School in the state of Michigan from 1988-92. As a senior, he was named First Team All-State in Class A by the Associated Press and an Honorable Mention All-American by USA Today and McDonald's. He decided to attend Lake Superior State University from 1992 to 1996. There, he was a 3-time All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference performer and a NCAA Division II All-American. As a senior, he captained a team that won the schools only GLIAC Championship and their only GLIAC tournament championship. That year, 1996, he was GLIAC Player of the Year and MVP of the GLIAC tournament. He finished his career at LSSU with 1,800 points in 105 games.
Menk played a year in Denmark. He was an import for HIC (Horsens Idraets Club), in the Danish Elite Division in 1996-97, averaging 19 points per game.
Menk arrived in the Philippine basketball scene in 1997 when he played for Tanduay in the Philippine Basketball League. Of course, he quickly made an impact in the PBL being the first Rookie of the Year Awardee and Most Valuable Player Awardee. Aside from that, he also won two more Most Valuable Player Awards and piloted the Tanduay Rhum Masters to a couple of championships. Along with collegiate stars Chris Cantonjos, Mark Telan, and role players Jomer Rubi, Aldrin Morante and Bobby Jose, the Rhum Masters won numerous PBL titles during Menk's career. During his final PBL conference, Menk and Blu Detergent's Asi Taulava was considered as one of the best rivalries at the time.
Tanduay Rhum Masters
After Tanduay made its return to the PBA, the Rhum Masters were allowed to nab six players from their PBL squad. Menk headlined the list of those elevated to the pro ranks. Also, Tanduay drafted Filipino-American Earl Sonny Alvarado as the top pick, making Menk and Alvarado as one of the strongest frontlines in the league.
Menk would struggle in his early games in the PBA. However, Menk made a strong showing in the All-Filipino Conference, leading Tanduay to a Finals appearance in their maiden season. While Menk was named as the Best Player of the Conference, the Rhum Masters were upset by the veteran-laiden Formula Shell Zoom Masters of eventual-MVP Benjie Paras. Menk continued his strong performance in the Commissioner and Governors Cup tournaments, leading him to numerous individual awards.
In 2000, Menk had another strong season for the Rhum Masters, as the team became one of the strongest teams in the league, acquiring Dondon Hontiveros and Jeffrey Cariaso. The team became a perennial threat to corporate rival San Miguel Beermen. However, disappointment came for the team as Alvarado was deported for falsification of documents. The Rhum Masters, who won Games 2 and 3 of the semifinals series against Purefoods, were eliminated from the series after its games won with Alvarado on the team were forfeited.
Menk's citizenship came in question as well during the Commissioner's Cup, after the league scrutinized most of the Filipino-foreign cagers' documents. Menk was unable to further proof his Filipino lineage and was suspended indefinitely, forcing Menk to end his season early.
His return to the pro league came more than a year later, when he was able to prove his citizenship. Menk played nine games for Tanduay in the 2001 Governor's Cup, as the Rhum Masters bowed out of the tournament early.
Barangay Ginebra Kings
His debut with the team was delayed, as he spent his time with the Philippine National Team for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. The Philippines finished in fourth place with Menk showing a decent performance in the tournament. In the All-Filipino Conference, Menk finally made his Ginebra debut but was unable to lead the Kings into the quarterfinals.
In 2003, Menk had a strong performance during the season but, still, Barangay Ginebra failed to enter the semi-finals of the tournament. Menk played in the 2003 PBA All-Star Game.
However, the 2004-2005 season marked Menk's biggest season yet. He led the Barangay Ginebra Kings to two consecutive PBA titles, winning the transition Fiesta Conference and the Philippine Cup. He also won the Best Player of the Conference honors during the two said tournaments. During the 2005 Fiesta Conference, Menk was suspended indefinitely by the league for failure to show additional documents of his citizenship on time, while spending some time with Team Pilipinas. Despite this, Menk still won the 2004-2005 Most Valuable Player Award.
Even being suspended in Ginebra's remaining games once again in the 2004-2005 Fiesta Conference, he still piled up sufficient statistical points and votes to earn MVP honors. He averaged 17.5 points and a league-best 11.8 rebounds in 71 total games. He won back-to-back Best Player of the Conference honors. His 2004 Fiesta Conference championship was his first as a PBA player after leading Tanduay to numerous crowns in the PBL.
Menk would return for Ginebra during the middle stages of the 2005-2006 Fiesta Conference. While he led the Kings to the semifinals of the tournament, they were eliminated by eventual champion Red Bull Barako in seven grueling games. During the 2006 PBA All-Star Game, his team, the PBA South All-Stars, won against the PBA North All-Stars.
In 2008, the Barangay Ginebra Kings would return to the finals against Air21. It was a long, grueling series where Ginebra lost several players to injury. Despite their losses, Ginebra stretched the series 7 games and eventually won their 4th championship in 4 years. Menk performed well in the series, especially in game 7, in front of a record-setting 22,000 plus crowd at the legendary Araneta Coliseum. He finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while earning his 3rd PBA Finals MVP accolade.
Return to PBA
GlobalPort Batang Pier
In 2013-2014 PBA season, Menk set for major comeback as he signs with the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
PBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||MPG||Minutes per game||FG%||Field-goal percentage|
|3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage||RPG||Rebounds per game|
|APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game||BPG||Blocks per game|
|PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Correct as of September 23, 2016
In 2002, Menk was selected to play in the National Team for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. However, the country went home without a medal. Menk started every game and averaged close to 10 points during his first Asiad stint.
In 2005, Menk was again included in the National Pool for future international competitions. However, with his citizenship still in limbo during the time, Menk failed to join Team Pilipinas in either the Jones Cup or the Brunei Sultan Cup.
In 2007, for the third time, Menk represented the Philippines again in the Olympic Qualifiers, FIBA Asia. Despite a 5-2 record, the Philippines finished 9th and did not qualify for the Olympics.
Menk's citizenship has been questioned since he arrived in the PBA in 1999. But unlike fellow Filipino-foreign cager Asi Taulava, Menk had fewer problems regarding his citizenship.
He was suspended twice by the league. In 2000, the PBA suspended the then-Tanduay cager indefinitely for failure to submit proper documents on time. In 2005, Menk was again suspended for failing to submit additional documents to the league for clarification.
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|PBA All-Filipino/Philippine Cup Best Player Award
|PBA Fiesta Conference Best Player