UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas dedicated its upset win over defending champion De La Salle to injured spiker Milena Alessandrini, who is likely out for the remainder of UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Tigresses entered the court with their hair tied in buns ala Alessandrini before pulling off the emphatic 25-20, 25-22, 25-17 upset over the Lady Spikers on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Alessandrini averaged 15.6 points in her first three games before suffering a partial tear on her left ACL and a Grade 3 sprain on her MCL and LCL in the Tigresses' loss to Far Eastern University last Saturday.
“Basta itong game na ito, all the way, para kay Milena ito,” said UST head coach Kungfu Reyes. “Sabi ko nga sa kanila, si Milena nakikipag-patayan eh, napilay na. Tayo din. Tayo yung may capacity pa na ilaban siya."
Rookie sensation Eya Laure said the Tigresses have gotten over the initial shock of seeing the Fil-Italian spiker, who the team fondly call 'Amiga,' suffer the injury.
“Noong nawala si Ate Amiga nung FEU, kung makikita niyo, blanko ang mukha namin noon. As in nagulat kami, walang nag-expect tapos hindi namin alam kung paano nangyari,” Laure said. “Pero yun nga, kinausap din kami ni Coach Kungfu na move on tayo. Siguro isang malaking bagay na siya sa amin, as a team na rin talaga.”
Reyes was proud to see Dimdim Pacres and rookies KC Galdones and MaFe Galanza step up to help Laure and Sisi Rondina in Alessandrini's absence.
“Nakita namin ‘yung injury ni Milena and ‘yung binilin ko sa kanila na hindi nila binitawan ang ‘I got your back,’” Reyes said. “Hindi namin nagawa ‘yung naipagtanggol siya sa FEU so this time, rinemind namin na maglalaro kami para kay Milena."