[Editor's note: Here's the latest offering for our Where Are They Now series]
ANGELO ‘Long’ David certainly knows how to play the long game (no pun intended) in his approach to life after basketball, and it clearly mirrors his playing style — silently working hard yet efficiently yielding good results.
“We live decently,” said the 43-year-old former basketball pro, who is now busy attending to the business ventures he and his wife have put up from his earnings in a long career both in the MBA and PBA.
“Nabibili pa naman namin ‘yung gusto namin, nakakapasyal pa at nabibigay namin ‘yung hiling ng mga bata,” he added when Spin.ph chanced upon him during a tournament participated in by his son.
The long-limbed big man from Bacolor, Pampanga never reached superstar status in his professional career, but he was good enough to be an integral part of several successful ballclubs.
After playing for Far Eastern University in the early 90s, David next found himself in the Philippine Basketball League, particularly with the Burger Machine squad led by Kenneth Duremdes and coached by Perry Ronquillo.
The most notable highlight of David’s playing days, however, happened during his stint with the MBA when he helped his hometown Pampanga Dragons win the inaugural crown in 1998. He eventually suited up in the PBA for six seasons and played for Sta. Lucia, Talk ‘N Text, and Red Bull before retiring in 2005.
David’s life after basketball has more or less followed the same path - and it should serve as a perfect model for today's basketball stars in terms of preparing for the (pun intended) long term.
David specifically credits Danny Espiritu, his former agent, for planting the seeds on the value of savings from which he and his family now enjoy the fruits. To this day, he remembers one memorable analogy from Espiritu.
“Sabi kasi niya, kapag umakyat ka sa puno ng duhat, ‘wag mong ubusin ‘yung napitas mo,” David recalled. “Magdala ka ng sisidlan, mag-ipon ka. 'Yung natira, dalhin mo sa baba para kapag wala ka na sa taas, meron ka pang huhugutin. ‘Yan ang tinandaan ko talaga.”
“Ang basketball kasi panandalian lang. Sikat ka at malaki ang suweldo mo. Pero paano mo ma-sustain ‘yung ganung buhay. Disiplina lang. Ipon ka kapag kumita ng konti. Siyempre gagastos ka according to what you have,” he added.
“So far, so good naman. Maganda naman ‘yung kalagayan namin. Nagagawa namin ‘yung gusto naming gawin.”
Now, David is passing on that knowledge to his 14-year-old son, David Angelo, who played for Holy Angel University in the BEST Center SBP-Passerelle Twin Tournament last month in Baguio City.
“As a player before, alam ko ‘yung experience kahit papaano. Marami akong na-experience na hindi nakatapos ng pag-aaral tapos after their PBA career, wala na. Gusto ko, after ‘yung playing career sa basketball, meron pa rin siyang future,” said Long, who drove all the way to Baguio to watch his son during the tournament.
Talent-wise, Long believes his teenage son, who already stands six feet flat, is better than him.
“Actually siya ang MVP sa Central Luzon. Okay naman siya. Mas magaling siya kasi sa height niya, marunong siya magdala ng bola, hindi katulad namin na ginawa kaming center o power forward, ang laro lang namin is rumebound at mag-shoot sa ilalim. Pero siya nakakatira sa labas at marunong mag-dribble,” said David.
He also admitted that offers are already coming in for the younger David to play in Manila, but they remain undecided.
"Kasi ayaw din namin mawalay sa amin agad lalo na’t 14 years old pa lang siya. Kapag binigay na namin siya sa Manila, tuluy-tuloy na ‘yan hanggang college."
Still, the elder David is quick to remind his son of another vital lesson: prioritize academics first. On this regard, Long proudly shares that his son is making good on his word as he is actually a double scholar in athletics as well as in academics.
“Ang number one priority is pag-aaral. Pinupush ko sa kanya ‘yun,” said Long. “‘Yung chances na makalaro sa PBA, very slim. Kaya sabi ko, pagpatuloy niya ang pag-aaral niya.”