RONNIE Magsanoc has declined to confirm or deny reports that he has resigned as San Beda coach, less than two months after leading the Red Lions to an unlikely NCAA championship right on his first season at the helm.
Rumors that the coach had parted ways with the team had been making the rounds for a few weeks now - talk Magsanoc made no effort to quell when Spin.ph caught up with him just before the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal game between Alaska and Meralco, where Magsanoc is an assistant coach for the Bolts.
"Status quo muna ako. I'll make the decision when I get there," was Magsanoc's curt reply before excusing himself to join the rest of the Bolts in the dugout.
Magsanoc's words, however, have only served to feed growing talk that there is trouble in the Red Lions' den, just weeks after the former Red Cubs star led a team that started the season in turmoil all the way to a third straight championship against more fancied teams like San Sebastian.
There has been no known clear cause of the tension at the Red Lions camp, although it is common knowledge that loyalties among team members and alumni supporters are still divided between Magsanoc and former coach Frankie Lim, even after the latest championship.
Lim was slapped by the league with a two-year ban while several key players, including slotman Ola Adeogun, were slapped with suspensions owing to a brawl with Sebastian's volleyball team during the offseason, leaving Magsanoc with only six players of mostly second stringers to play the team's first game of the season.
Lim has expressed a desire to launch an appeal for the ban be lifted, so he can return to coaching.
Mari Lacson, the school's representative to the NCAA management committee, insisted the talks of Magsanoc's resignation were not true.
"I haven't heard anything, but I don't believe it's true. I'll call San Beda to find out," he said when Spin.ph first talked to him.
Later, Lacson called to say that he has talked with San Beda athletic director Ato Badolato. "There is no truth to that," he said.
However, it is apparent that not all is well with the team.
The Red Lions have returned to training two weeks ago to prepare for the Fr. Martin Cup, and several players have confirmed that Magsanoc and his top assistant, Benjie Paras, have not been around to run practice. The players added they, too, are at loss on Magsanoc's status.
The players said they hope to know more on Saturday when the team holds its Christmas party.