Milena Alessandrini grateful to UST Tigresses after ‘long journey’ in UAAP ends
MANILA, Philippines — Milena Alessandrini has accomplished her UAAP career without regrets despite all the ups and downs she went through.
The Filipino-Italian spiker kissed University of Santo Tomas goodbye after their Season 85 ended with a 24-26, 22-25, 25-20, 19-25 loss to the twice-to-beat La Salle in their Final Four match on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It wasn’t the ending she wanted but Alessandrini was grateful to the Tigresses for giving her an unforgettable experience to play in the country.
“I’m very grateful. It was a tough season and it’s done. I don’t have regrets. I did what I could do, all my best to represent UST,” said Alessandrini, who scored eight points in her final UAAP game. “I really want to say thank you to the coaches for the patience and for really trying to improve myself, especially mentally. It was a long journey and no more UAAP for me, so thank you.”
Alessandrini, who suffered an ACL injury in 2019, decided to return one last time this year, braving the physical and mental challenges of her career setback to help Eya Laure in leading the young Tigresses to reach the semifinals.
The Season 80 Rookie of the Year may have suffered injuries in her collegiate career including an ankle sprain in the first round but she is proud of herself to finish the tournament before she enters the next chapter of her life.
And playing for UST is a life experience she will never forget.
“It was a wonderful experience. I really thank UST for the opportunity they gave me. Ups and downs, academics, school, UAAP, lot of things, but it was the best experience of my life because it changed everything from Italy to the Philippines,” Alessandrini said. “I’m really happy to give it a try because I’ve never been to the Philippines, so when I had this opportunity, I tried it. I really want to say thank you UST and the community, the people inside who are a part of all of us.”
UST coach KungFu Reyes lauded the 25-year-old athlete’s courage and dedication to keep on coming back despite an injury-riddled career since she became a Tigress in 2018.
“It wasn’t easy for Milena since her first year she’s been struggling with injuries and then the pandemic happened, which stopped her recovery progress. But she came back and tried again,” said Reyes in Filipino. “We are very happy, especially the coaches, because Milena overcame all her struggles, in terms of physical health, and being away from her mother so we made her feel that she has an extended family in us. We finished this season injury-free for our 14 players.”
Alessandrini, who made a mark as Amiga to her UST teammates, said she has yet to decide what’s next for her career although she has been receiving offers from Premier Volleyball League teams, which she didn’t disclose.
“I still don’t have plans. I think I will fix myself and focus on my recovery and condition and strength. That’s my plan for now,” she said.