Milena Alessandrini returned on Saturday after not playing in University of Santo Tomas’ straight sets defeat to Adamson University last Wednesday.
The Fil-Italian wing spiker suffered a right ankle sprain last Saturday against National University but played through the pain. However, she begged off from playing against the Lady Falcons.
And in her return, she made her presence felt with 10 points and five excellent receptions, helping the Golden Tigresses sweep University of the Philippines, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20.
“Better. I’m still recovering but better since last week. I’m back in training and I played this game so that’s fine,” said Alessandrini on her conditioning.
UST head coach Kungfu Reyes bared that Alessandrini is still not 100 percent and is still grasping for form.
Despite the heated race for the Final Four, Reyes reiterated that their utmost concern is the health of the returning player, who has been through a lot already.
“Yung trauma nandoon eh. Yung nararamdaman niya yung pinakaimportante doon eh,” said Reyes.
“Hindi namin pwedeng ipukpok sa kanya na ‘hindi kailangan mong maglaro!’ kasi nga otherwise yung health niya naman especially yung sa paa niya and nirerecover niya pa rin yung ACL niya and yung [itinama] sa kanya.
“Sabi niya nga yung tibok daw ng puso niya grabe raw nung naramdaman niya yun so parang nagflashback lahat the moment nung 2019 na bumalik daw lahat yun eh,” recalled Reyes when Alessandrini got injured against the Lady Bulldogs.
Even though not yet near her best, Reyes said having Alessandrini is a luxury for UST, which needs all of her 6-foot-1 stature.
Her height alone can do and change a lot of things for the Tigresses.
“At least nandito siya sa laro mas madali eh. yung rotation namin nandoon, kahit hindi ganon kalakas yung atake pero mataas pa rin eh kahit anong gawin namin so yung threat sa block, yung threat sa atake nandoon,” added Reyes.
“Hopefully, bago matapos itong first round, we will pray that Milena will at least be 90 percent ready for the second round.”