The Curious Case of Ateneo standout Kirk Long on why he can’t play in the PBA

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Five-time PBA D-League Champion NLEX Road Warriors are seriously considering bringing their 5 possible players if ever their bid as an expansion team in the PBA will be approved.

NLEX had earlier expressed their intention of bringing Gilas cadet members  Kevin Louie Alas, Matt Ganuelas, Jakes Pascual, Ronald Pascual and Garvo Lanete into the PBA as direct hires. 

A PBA expansion team is only allowed to bring five players as direct hires.
And now NLEX is exploring the possibility of bringing up American Kirk Long as a local player to the PBA.

Long as a local player

Long, who was born in the Philippines to American parents and a longtime permanent resident, had earlier been given the nod by the PBA to suit up for NLEX in the D-League starting in 2012.
Team manager Ronald Dularte told that NLEX, who will be called Metro Pacific in the PBA if ever, is now pushing for Long to be given an exemption and be allowed to play in the PBA if the company gets the go-signal from the board to become an expansion team.
“Next in line namin ‘yan. Once ma-approve, concessions will follow, then ‘yung mga small things like that,” said Dularte, referring to the possibility of Long joining the PBA.
Dularte admitted that Long’s PBA bid is a tall talk since league rules are very clear that players without Filipino blood are not allowed to play in Asia’s first professional cage league.
Dularte, however, is planning to approach the PBA teams themselves and present the case of Long who, he said, deserves to be given a shot at the pro league.
He added Long’s inclusion will not give NLEX an undue advantage in the league.
“It all depends dahil baka maging precedent ‘yan. May mga ganyang cases na before,” Dularte said. “What we can do siguro is ask not really the board but the teams themselves and present our case.”
“It’s up to them to approve. That’s what we can do. Alam naman natin na wala siyang (blood) line as Filipino but we will see.”
NLEX’s bid to bring up Long to the PBA is similar to the case of Alex Compton, who also made a bid to play in the PBA as a local after suiting up in the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).
Compton, who like Long was born in the Philippines to American parents, did play in the PBA but as an import of Welcoat, now Rain or Shine, in 2007 and 2008 as he was not allowed by the league to play as a local.

Compton didn’t push through in his case and was eventually became an assistant.
Compton, now an assistant coach at Alaska in the PBA, was also allowed to play in the defunct Philippine Basketball League prior to his stint as an import in the PBA.
However, Dularte believes Long deserves a slot in the PBA
Long studied at Faith Academy in high school and played for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in college and has long been involved in charity work. He is also married to Filipina footballer Cristina Garcia.
“Unang-una, he was born here and dito na siya lumaki. Pangalawa, he helps a lot with the kids, hindi lang in terms of the aspect of basketball but in terms of ‘yung pakikipag-kapwa,” said Dularte. 

Whatever happens to the controversial case of Long, expect the basketball fans to still support him.

— with reports from

Ed Umbao

Founder of | co-Founder of

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