Milena Alessandrini sprained her right ankle in the fourth set against National University, but was able to return in the fifth to power University of Santo Tomas’ stunner last Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
However, in the Golden Tigresses’ straight-sets defeat on Wednesday against Adamson University, the UST senior opted to suit up as a libero and was not used in the game.
UST head coach Kungfu Reyes shared that it was Alessandrini herself who chose to sit the game out.
“Ang [feeling] niya sa kanya, she’s not physically and mentally prepared for this game,” said Reyes after the game.
“We tried to convince her na maglaro kung kakayanin, pero siya mismo ang nag-beg off and she wanted to play libero.”
Reyes and the whole coaching staff respected the decision of the UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year, knowing full well her history.
Alessandrini had to go through two operations to treat her left knee, which incurred a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear; and grade 3 sprains on her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) there.
The Tigresses’ lead tactician then reiterated that it was just a sprain and nothing worse.
“Ankle sprain lang pero syempre, ang sabi niya weak yung kaliwa, ‘yung kanan ang sumusuporta. Since weak ‘yung [kanan] niya, nagiging hesitant siya maglaro,” said Reyes.
“Hindi naman namin pwedeng ipilit sa kanya kasi alam niya naman yung nararamdaman niya.”
Missed was the towering presence of the 6-foot-1 Fil-Italian as UST only managed four blocks while the Lady Falcons made 10.
Alessandrini produced 14 points and 10 excellent receptions against the Lady Bulldogs.
“Kita niyo naman yung block at the net yun yung medyo nawala. Both sides eh. Si Milena yung naging absence eh pero nandoon naman yung mga rookie natin pero yun nga matataas tumalon, dynamic gumalaw pero still maliit.”
When the Tigresses face the University of the Philippines on Saturday, Reyes hopes that he can have Alessandrini back even though the player trained the past few days with “no jumping” yet.
“Baka naman, sana naman.”