UAAP: Milena Alessandrini overcomes trauma to help UST stun La Salle
MANILA, Philippines—Milena Alessandrini not only delivered a big game to help University of Santo Tomas topple La Salle on Sunday, she also overcame the trauma from her previous knee injury she suffered exactly four years ago at Araneta Coliseum.
“I focused and concentrated on what I had to do. No fear, no negative thoughts,” said Alessandrini.
The Filipino-Italian spiker showed no fear as she stepped up with 20 points including three blocks as UST ended La Salle’s nine-game unbeaten run, 25-19, 14-25, 25-18, 25-12, in the second round of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
On March 2, 2019, Alessandrini went down with an ACL injury in her left kneeduring UST’s game against Far Eastern University at the Big Dome and faced a long recovery.
In the Tigresses’ first game at Araneta Coliseum this season, Milena didn’t play in their loss to Adamson due to an ankle injury she sustained during their five-set win that ended National University’s 20-game winning run on March 4.
“At first, I was like again here? But then it’s okay [for me] I can do it, I can fight. It was a challenge and I’m happy no injury and no bad things happened,” said Alessandrini. “It’s my first time since my injury here in this place I didn’t play here anymore.
“I just focused on what I have to do, what I need to do. Today I tried to [think that it’s] okay. It’s a new day, it’s a new chapter, it’s a new environment, [that was] many years ago. I can do it, I can try to play and try my best for my team,” she added.
Team captain Eya Laure, who scored 29 points, also spoke words of encouragement to Alessandrini.
“This is the place where she suffered an ACL injury. I talked to her about my experience before at MOA where I sprained my ankle and how I handled my first game back at the venue. I told her that I used that as a strength,” said Laure in Filipino. “She had a trauma here but I’m glad that Ate Amiga listened to me that you fell here but this is also the place where you will rise again.”
UST coach KungFu Reyes lauded Alessandrini’s courage to help the Tigresses improve their record to a 7-3 record for third place.
“She is still at 80 to 85 percent. At least, she overcame the last incident she suffered an ACL injury. This place is very traumatic. But in the fourth set, she was attacking at the place where she went down,” said Reyes in Filipino. “Today she overcame it. We’re happy that she is back. From start to finish, she was standing.”
Alessandrini was grateful to her coaches and teammates for helping her overcome a major injury.
“I’m really grateful and glad because they always support me, understand my feelings, and push me. Thank you for staying at my side and helping me improve,” she said.