UAAP: La Salle’s Alleiah Malaluan returns but still finding her form
MANILA, Philippines — Alleiah Malaluan said she is still working her way back to 100 percent recovery from a minor knee injury after making her debut for La Salle in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday.
Malaluan was fielded for the first time this season midway through the second set and nailed the set-clinching attack that gave La Salle a 2-0 advantage before it swept Far Eastern University, 25-16, 25-18, 25-21, at Philsports Arena.
The sophomore Lady Spiker, who missed the team’s first four games, only played one set in her comeback, saying she is still adjusting.
“Bumabalik pa ko on track kasi after like few games hindi pa ako naglalaro, nagaadjust pa ako sa loob ng court since parang bago lang ulit ako,” said Malaluan, who finished with one point in the game. “Even though nakakatrain na ako, I need to adjust more since iba nga yung galawan sa loob.”
(I’m still going back on track because I haven’t played after a few games. I’m still adjusting inside the court since I’m like a new player. Even though I’ve been training with them, I need to adjust more since they move differently.)
La Salle interim coach Noel Orcullo said they are not rushing Malaluan’s recovery especially since the Lady Spikers have managed to stay perfect despite her absence.
“Actually last game against [UE], I have plans to use her but we have to take it slowly. Then during our training yesterday, I told her to be ready,” said Orcullo in Filipino. “But we’re not rushing her. We’ll help her to regain her confidence and her game slowly.”
Malaluan, who stressed she is not yet back to her old self, was an MVP candidate last season and emerged as a top five scorer with a total of 193 points built on 171 attacks, 15 aces and seven blocks. She was also No. 6 in the best server race.
“I can’t say any numbers but I’m still getting there. Even though I can already do other skills but at the same time my 100 percent is still different. I know it’s not my 100 percent,” she said in Filipino.
Malaluan was glad to shake off the cobwebs and felt their game against FEU and former high school coach Tina Salak was a good learning experience ahead of their last two first-round games against Adamson and defending champion National University.
“This match is a good learning experience since our next games will be against high-level teams. It’s a boost to our confidence and at the same time we will be able to improve our lapses because we can’t say that our game is perfect,” Malaluan said.