Even before Kirk Long set foot in the UAAP, I had already witnessed his basketball skills years back. I remember catching a couple of his games back in high school after my team's volleyball games whenever we'd face off against Faith Academy. Kirk was hard to miss. He was the fastest on the court and he sank baskets with ease making him stand out from the rest of his teammates. Even then he already had girls swooning over him - my teammates and I included.
During Ateneo's first game this season, my Twitter feed was full of tweets with people saying they missed seeing him on the court. But luckily for them, Kirk is still part of the UAAP. He may not be donning the Blue and White anymore but he traded in the basketball for the mic and now commentates as part of the broadcast team of ABS-CBN.
Having graduated last March, Kirk has done so much in the last couple of months and it's no surprise that it all involves basketball. He's gone abroad to international schools as well as visited a couple local schools conducting basketball camps, he's part of the N-LEX Road Warriors in the PBA D-League and even manages to help his parents with their ministry.
"The cool thing about the Philippines that I have known since I was maybe four and started to play basketball is that it is popular everywhere. Since I was a kid my dad and I traveled with teams from abroad or from Manila all over the different islands of the Philippines. It is so much fun to meet new friends, travel, and share my life and my belief of what Jesus did for all of us on the cross with others."
With all the things he's got going on, taking on the commentating gig seemed ideal so he'd still have time for other things that he wanted to do. "I have done five games this year so far and I have to say its been very enjoyable, the whole crew at ABS are very professional and they have been very helpful to me in letting me know how I can improve and feel comfortable doing my job."
Being on the other side other side of collegiate basketball has been very different for Kirk and he misses being on the court, but still being part of the UAAP has allowed him to watch so many exciting games. "I think for the most part it's been a great season and we're not even at the playoffs yet."
On the Blue Eagles, Kirk notices that despite all the pressure and the other teams taking it up a notch, a bunch of players have stepped their game and he believes that Coach Norman has prepared them to defend the championship.
Aside from the commentating gig, he's got other people's attention in another way — his brand new hairstyle! "Well, a lot of people have asked (laughs)... I don't really know, my sister Josie who has always done my hair says I should let it grow so that's what I am doing. It is annoying to have it so long when I play sports, but my girlfriend who I think wants me to look like a European soccer player likes it so that's a good enough reason for me to keep it."
Finally, I picked Kirk's brain on which UAAP players have caught his attention this season and here are his Top 3:
1. Aljon Mariano (UST) for me has been a player who has really stepped up his game. You can tell by his face out there that he really wants to help his team win however he can. His confidence out there is so high that you know he has spent so many hours in the gym on his game to improve. I also like how he is not all about himself but team glory meaning he doesn't have all the hand gestures or the celebrating after a basket but hustles down the court to play defense.
2. The second player would be Roger Pogoy from FEU, him stepping up for the Tamaraws to be another constant threat in their back court should help them out a lot.
3. The third would be Juami Tiongson who has taken over some big shoes from my good friend Emman Monfort. Juami has been a consistent player for Ateneo and is doing a good job of setting up the Ateneo offense.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.