On the fateful day of March 2, 2019 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum against FEU, UST wing spiker Milena Alessandrini fell down with a left ACL injury, shutting her down for the rest of the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament and ultimately for more than three years.
Alessandrini got a chance to play again at The Big Dome for the first time since the date of her injury when the Golden Tigresses battled the Adamson Lady Falcons on March 8, 2023 in the first round of this Season 85, but she didn't, perhaps traumatized by what happened to her at the venue four years ago.
It also didn't help that she was coming off an injury-scare against NU on March 4 when the Golden Tigresses halted the Lady Bulldogs' 20-game winning streak.
“At first, I was like, 'again here',” said Milena, talking about her playing at the venue again where she incurred her ACL injury.
Finding the will to conquer her trauma, the Filipino-Italian finally played at Araneta on Sunday, April 2 when UST (7-3) handed La Salle (9-1) its first loss of the season, winning its second straight game in the process, 25-19, 14-25, 25-18, 25-12.
Alessandrini not only played at The Big Dome, the 6-foot-2 spiker also played splendidly as she fired 20 points on 17 attacks and three blocks to give an added firepower for UST led by Eya Laure who pumped in 29.
The 25-year-old Alessandrini shared that she tried to steady herself heading into the contest.
“But then [I told myself] 'it's okay I can do it, I can fight'. It was a challenge and I'm happy no injury and no bad things happened to me,” she added.
“Actually it's my first time since my injury here in this place. I didn't play here anymore. What I had to do, I needed to do because last time we went here against Adamson and I didn't play.
“Today I tried to be okay. It's a new day, it's a new chapter, it's a new environment from many years ago. [I told myself] 'I can do it, I can try to play and try my best for my team and give my contributions'. No fear, no negative thoughts. Focus on the game and the actions that I have to do.”
But Alessandrini didn't do it all by herself. The whole UST team helped her in overcoming her trauma.
Laure even shared how she tried to inspire Alessandri heading into their match against the Lady Spikers.
“She probably had a trauma because this is where she got injured but I was happy that Ate Amiga listened to me. I was trying to inspire her that 'this is the place where she fell, this better be the place too where she'll rise and get back up,” said Laure.
Alessandrini is grateful to Laure and the rest of the Golden Tigresses, who even took the triumph on the very side of the court where she got injured four years ago.
“I'm really grateful and glad because they [my teammates] always support me, understand my feelings, and push myself. Thank you for staying by my side and helping me to improve and thank you to the Lord.”
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