LIMITED as his chances may have been, Fonzo Gotladera remains grateful for the opportunity to continue playing.
Gotladera, who was not given an extension after his contract with NLEX expired at the end of last season, joins a young FamilyMart-Enderun squad where he'll be counted on as one of the leaders in its initial foray in the PBA D-League.
It would feel like a demotion to some, but the former Ateneo slotman insists he remains upbeat and that focus is not on a PBA comeback but on the job at hand.
"Actually very grateful nga ako kasi nasa PBA-affilliated team pa rin ako. And it's good to be here in Enderun. The culture here is really good, they're well-coached, tapos okay din yung Enderun players, very welcoming," he said.
Unable to try out with other PBA teams after his contract ended, the 26-year-old Gotladera is taking this D-League stint as a chance for him to prove himself, all while helping FamilyMart-Enderun compete in the 20-team field.
"Na-release ako ng first week of January, a week before opening. I wasn't able to try out with other PBA teams, pero what me and my agent did was to look for the best option, and I landed here in Enderun," shared the 6-foot-5 center.
"Siguro madadala ko dito yung leadership ko. I'm willing to do anything that will help the team win," he said. "Yun ang ultimate goal namin, to win. Whatever it takes, kung anuman yung role na ibigay sakin ni coach Pipo, gagawin ko."
Enderun is the Phoenix Fuel Masters' D-League affiliate, and if this run does allow him to get back in the PBA someday, then Gotladera would be more than thankful.
For now, though, he's tempering his expectations.
"As of now, walang usapan (with Phoenix). It's more about yung focus ko is here with this team, to help this team win," he said. "Eventually, if the opportunity strikes, I'll be more than happy to play for Phoenix if they call me up."