NEW Ateneo assistant coach Ronnie Magsanoc said he is glad to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with head coach Bo Perasol in the Blue Eagles camp for the coming UAAP season.
The former San Beda coach spoke about his move for the first time on Thursday, a day after Spin.ph reported the University of the Philippines great's reunion at Ateneo with former Maroons Perasol and Ricky Dandan.
His hiring has inevitably fueled comments and speculations that the former NCAA champion coach may be a coach-in-waiting at Ateneo - someone being groomed for the job in the future.
The Blue Eagles' top patron, Manny V. Pangilinan, is also the chief backer of San Beda, which Magsanoc inexplicably left just days after leading the Red Lions to the 2012 NCAA championship.
Magsanoc, who teamed up with Benjie Paras to lead the UP Maroons to their only UAAP title back in 1986, is also an assistant coach of Ryan Gregorio at MVP-owned PBA ballclub Meralco.
So is he being groomed for the Blue Eagles' job?
Magsanoc appeared to thumb down the notion by pointing out that it was Perasol himself - and not anyone else - who invited him to join the Blue Eagles coaching staff, an offer he readily accepted.
“Coach Bo invited me to help him out sa kanyang program. I have high respect for coach Bo and I am looking forward to working with him,” said Magsanoc in an SMS to Spin.ph.
A person close to the former Shell star also thumbed down that possibility.
According to the source, a head-coaching job does not interest Magsanoc at this time as he is already satisfied with being an assistant coach while doing part-time work as a television analyst. Magsanoc is also a columnist for the Abante tabloid.
That's the reason Magsanoc decided to give up the Red Lions head-coaching job and stay as an assistant coach with Meralco in the PBA, the source added.
Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo insisted that the hiring of Magsanoc was solely aimed at improving the title chances of the team - and not for anything else.
“We want the best for next season. We sought a qualified coach and ang una naming nakita ay si coach Ronnie,” said Quimpo.
“We are preparing for next season. We are addressing the coming season. As for the coming seasons are concerned, malayo pa ‘yun,” he added.
Quimpo said the team looks forward to having Magsanoc pitch as the Blue Eagles seek to reclaim lost glory after the five-time champions missed out on the Final Four last season.
“He is a champion player and a champion coach. He can bring a lot to Ateneo,” said Quimpo, who took over the spot from longtime team manager Paolo Trillo.