UAAP Season 82: Tigresses dedicate season to injured Alessandrini
Mark Escarlote on Jan 30, 2020 07:05 PM
University of Sto. Tomas remains in high spirits despite missing the services of injured Milena Alessandrini in UAAP Season 82.
The University of Sto. Tomas Tigresses are using the absence of Fil-Italian Milena Alessandrini as fuel for their burning desire to finish the job of reclaiming the throne.
Instead of treating the loss of a reliable scorer in 6-foot-2 Alessandrini as a setback, the Tigresses see it as a challenge for those who will see action in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament to step up.
The hitter is still recovering from a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and grade 3 sprain of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) and LCL (lateral collateral ligament) she sustained March last year.
“Since nu’ng training camp pa lang nu’ng nalaman namin na di na makakalaro si Ate Amiga sobrang nagdo-double time lahat ng outside namin, kaming mga outside, para punan ang slot na naiwan ni Ate Amiga,” said incoming sophomore Eya Laure.
Alessandrini, who averaged 15.6 points per game last year, remains very positive as she takes her time to fully recover and get back in tiptop shape according to Laure.
“Si Ate Amiga naman nu’ng nakausap ko siya, positive naman siya na makakabalik siya,” she said. “Nandoon pa rin naman siya sa progress ng pag-recover niya and sabi ko naman sa kanya hihintayin ko siya, wag lang siya ma-frustrate or something na negative na ikahihila niya pababa.”
“Nandito pa rin kaming team and UST to help her and support her na makabalik ulit siya sa playing form niya for next season,” added Laure.
Laure, last season’s Rookie of the Year, compares this unexpected setback to UST’s situation last year when they lost middle Tin Francisco to a knee injury while building up for Season 81.
“Actually parang similar lang last year. Si Ate Tin, nu’ng na-ACL [injury] din siya unexpected din yun,” she recalled. “Sobra kaming nalungkot pero more on mas na-motivate kami kung paano pupunan ang naiwan niyang slot dun.”
Aside from missing the services of Francisco, the Tigresses last year also suffered a huge setback with Alessandrini down with a knee injury but UST behind Laure and then senior Sisi Rondina rallied to a runner-up finish in the Espana-based squad's first Finals appearance after eight years.
“Kahit papaano naman nag-step up ang lahat. Gumawa ng paraan ang lahat kumbaga team effort kasi ‘yung nangyari last year din and hopefully ngayong year team effort pa rin,” said Laure.
The Tigresses are confident that their holdovers from last year, key recruits and the much-awaited return of Season 77 Rookie of the Year EJ Laure will be enough to fill the void left by Alessandrini, now graduate Rondina and Dimdim Pacres, who decided to forego her last playing year.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles