Hlongwa, who was signed by Pirates in 2016 along with Sandile Mthethwa, spent the past season on loan at National First Division side Real Kings, where he participated in 29 league matches.
Kings coach Simo Dladla handed Hlongwa the armband and recently expressed hope the player could return to his team as he fears he could be reduced to playing MultiChoice Diski Challenge football at star-studded Pirates.
Hlongwa, however, is eager to take his game to the next level.
"I learnt a lot as a player on my loan spell to improve. It was my first professional debut and I was focused," Hlongwa tells KickOff.com.
"The coach [Dladla] taught me a lot to go on the field and enjoy myself. So it helped me a lot as a player as I grew to play a competitive game. NFD is very tough, physical and there's no space to breathe. So as I said earlier, it helped me a lot as a player.
"Having said that, I'm ready for the step [up]. It can be anywhere else, but as long as it is the PSL to showcase my talent."
Mthethwa, who featured for Bafana Bafana at the COSAFA Cup last year in the North West Province and also at the Under-20 World Cup, is likewise back at Bucs after being loaned to Richards Bay FC last term to gain much-needed game-time.
At this stage it is unclear if coach Milutin Sredojevic will use the duo this coming season as Pirates' central defensive department includes Happy Jele, Lehlohonolo Mtshali, Justice Chabalala, Gladwin Shitolo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza.