San Miguel made a significant move to strengthen its frontline rotation by enlisting free agent big men James Sena and Fonzo Gotladera.
The Beermen, who relinquished the PBA Philippine Cup crown last year to Brgy. Ginebra during the Bubble Season in Clark, Pampanga, signed Sena and Gotladera for the duration of Season 46 mainly as backup to the returning June Mar Fajardo.
SMB team manager Gee Abanilla confirmed the signing on Wednesday.
“Siyempre naghanap kami ng big men na available in the market. We’re looking for experience din and at the same time, yung isa naman youth. Sakto naman meron kaming nakuha,” said Abanilla.
“Dapat magwo-workout sila sa amin. E di ba nag-lockdown. Kaya natagalan din. Pero sinama na rin namin sa mga workout namin sa zoom,” he added.
The 32-year old Sena, who was drafted by the Beermen with the 9th overall pick in the 2009 draft but was left unsigned, last played for Blackwater in 2019. The 6-foot-5 center started his pro career with the Shopinas.com Clickers in 2011 before moving over to Meralco in 2013. The former JRU standout played two years for the Bolts before landing a spot with the Elite in 2015.
The 29-year old Gotladera, who also stands 6-foot-5, was taken by NLEX in the 2016 PBA Special draft for Gilas cadets. He lasted two seasons with the Road Warriors and then moved over to the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League in 2019 to play for the Bataan Risers.
The two big men were invited by the team to join their online workouts and then took part in the scrimmages in Batangas.
“Nung nag-Batangas kami, doon namin nakita na puwede sila,” said Abanilla.
“Hopefully, maka-contribute sila kahit paano. Na-explain naman sa kanila ni coach (Leo Austria) na hindi naman sila hinahanapan ng matagal na minuto. Siguro breather lang lalo na ngayon na bago pa lang si June Mar na babalik sa paglalaro.”