MANILA, March 30, 2004
By Nelson Beltran - San Miguel import Art Long dishes out his game with a lot of emotions and that probably gives the impression that he is temperamental and has a short fuse as could be gleaned from the halftime uproar he got into at the Big Dome Sunday night.

Long personally contacted The STAR yesterday to explain his side in the aftermath of the commotion that ensued between the San Miguel Beermen and the Sta. Lucia Realtors.

A near free-for-all ensued during the halftime break when Long had a run-in with Marlou Aquino on the hallway leading to the dugouts. Due to the incident, the San Miguel import was summoned to appear before PBA commissioner Noli Eala today.

But Long told The STAR his action was misconstrued by people around them, maintaining he just wanted to talk to Aquino at the break.

"I didnít attack Marlou Aquino. If I wanted to attack him, nobody could really stop me," said Long. "I just wanted to talk to him and tell him to just play the game, then came his coach shouting Ďf..k off, f..k off."

"If I wanted to hurt him, I couldíve easily done that in the second half," added Long.

Sta. Lucia coach Alfrancis Chua denied cursing Long during the incident. He tried to intervene when he saw the San Miguel import about to attack Sta. Lucia top honcho and league board representative Buddy Encarnado.

"Wala naman ako doon. Una akong lumabas at tinawag lang ako ng mga bata namin na mayroon nga raw gulo. Noong nakita ko, gumitna ako dahil boss ko na yong susugurin niya," said Chua.

"Na-frustrate siguro dahil mga tatlong beses syinutan ni Marlou," added Chua.

On the technical foul he incurred in the first half for pointing to the giant screen inside the venue showing a slow-motion replay of a play and contesting a call by the referee, Long said he was not aware of that violation.

The three-year NBA veteran stressed heís a professional player, and he plays with a lot of emotions.

San Miguel coach Jong Uichico vouched for Longís professionalism and said itís not fair that his import would be judged for one fight he had been involved in his PBA stint. Long drew stiff sanction in his fight with Red Bull import Tony Lang in the 2002 Commissionerís Cup.

"Talagang very emotional lang talaga siya, very passionate. He takes the game seriously and he plays the game the way it should be played. Itís unfair for him to be judged for one incident," said Uichico.

Despite the incident, the Beermen kept their searing run in the tourney, notching win No. 7 with a 94-84 whipping of the Realtors.

Long logged another double-double numbers with 23 points and 20 rebounds that went with five assists, three steals and two blocks. The former Seattle SuperSonic and Toronto Raptor leads the league in rebounds and field goal percentage.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved