The Manny Pacquiao P5 Million International Darts Classic organized
by the National Darts Federation of the Philippines (NDFP) last
November 27-30, 2009 in General Santos City lived up to its billing
as the biggest dart tournament in the history of Philippine darts.
The richest ever 5 million total cash prize was matched by the
record breaking attendance of darters from Baguio to Basilan,
the Middle East, Asia and from the USA. It was remarkably the
richest and the most-attended dart tournament in the history of
Philippine darts despite the calamity of the recent typhoons and
the loss of lives in Maguindanao.
The magnificence of the stage set up and the individually lit
48 dartboards matched the demands of a truly grandeur dart tournament.
The air-conditioned Lagao Gymnasium was secured by the dog sniffing
Bomb Squad of Gensan and 15 visibly uniformed Philippine National
Police. Wide selection of food was available to serve palate of
players from the fast foods of Jollibee and Mcdonald’s to
the local turo-turo over rice. The two huge tents of San Miguel
Beer encapsulated the stage for singing with the Fundador bar
providing added choices for the camaraderie, drinking and leisure
In his opening speech, NDFP president Tito Soncuya said “this
is a historic breakthrough unprecedented in its power to draw
the participation of darters from home and abroad, from the novice
to the hard core, from the balik-darters to the aspiring ……
made possible by the generosity, support and commitment of Manny
Pacquiao to Philippine darts.
The first event set the tone of the record smashing attendance
with the registration of 579 players in the Classified Draw Triples
compared to the 375 registrants in the 2 Million Darts Classic
last year. The team of Pabling Cadungog (Team Pacquiao), Robles
Boyao (Baguio City) and Nards Navarra (Baguio City) edged the
equally strong team of Noel Malicdem (Robson-Manila), Rolly Coquia
(Koronadal City) and Bernie Arcega (Pampanga).
The second day started with the 95 Fix 4-Person Team won by The
One of Cagayan de Oro with Jun Espinola, Junjun Bayawa, Andy Quijano
and Arts Quijano over the Darters of Navotas composed of Boy Gionzon,
Nayr Ocampo, Louie Soriano and Celso Landerito.
The Classified Draw Doubles saw the participation of 508 players.
Three-times Darterong Pinoy Youth Singles champion JP De Tablan
of United Darters of Taytay paired with Gilbert De Arca of Iligan
City to beat Rommel Natividad of Nom-e Carmona and Aga Halaman
of Butuan City.
The Youth Singles attracted 51 players this year against last
year’s 37 players. As in all NDFP sanctioned tournaments
the P20,000 Youth Singles is a free registration event. As expected,
JP De Tablan of UDT took his last Youth title overwhelming Jeb
Yagao of Cagayan de Oro. Last year champion Ronnie Gellaga of
Butuan and Maki Oro of Bukidnon came in the Top4.
The popularity of the Fix Open Doubles event is gaining with
the registration of 348 participants from last year’s 282
players. The team of Junjun Bayawa and Jun Espiñola of
The One-CDO reigned over Boyet Go and Bobot Tubianosa of KGD Builders,
General Santos City.
The Classified 4-Man Draw was introduced this year to give greater
chances to the novice beginners and saw the registration of 500
players. The team of Noel Malicdem (Robson), Allan Samson (FDAMDI),
Sante Coleto (Iligan) and Apple Satorre (Team Pacquiao) proved
to be too strong over the runner-up team of Ronnel Botor (Robson),
Mandy Garrino (Oman-Abu Dhabi), Caloy Juntilla (Kidapawan City)
and Joseph Diaz (Midsayap).
In the Ladies’ Singles, a balik-darter and a dominant player
in the mid 1990’s Arnie Ticman, who used to be known as
Arnie Mendoza won the Ladies Singles over Ann Ann Awitan of Bullshooter-CDO
from a field of 51 players. Gingging Ricarte of Gensan and Christine
Calderon of Cainta landed in the top 4.
Another new event, the Non-Classified Seniors’ Singles
for 45 years old and over surprisingly registered 76 participants
with entries mostly coming from Mindanao. Alex Neri of Gensan
beat Joseph Borboran, a balikbayan based in Beijing, China. Landing
in joint 3rd / 4th places were Max Pepito of Las Piñas
and Mario Guerra of Team Pacquiao.
The 2 Million Open Singles event drew the participation of 275
players, despite the stiff P1,500 registration fee, hoping to
land at least in the top 64 for the P3,000 price if not the P700,000
record prize for the champion. In the top 16, Tengku Hadzali Shah
of Malaysia, the defending champion was beaten by Andy Villamor,
Boie Parfan lost in a heart-breaking decision against Dixie Ibanez
after hitting two important double bull outs, Ian Perez lost to
Randy Barion, and another favorite Arby Briones landed top 64.
In the top 8 Lourence Ilagan beat Dixie Ibanez, Randy Barion
over Rex Balangcod, Andy Villamor over Boy Gionzon, Jun Jun Bayawa
over Amin Abdul Ghani of Malaysia.
On to the semis, Ilagan snatched a 7-2 over Villamor and Bayawa
took a 7-4 victory over Barion. The two (2) finalists then faced
each other in the championship round for the P700K prize money
and the title. Ilagan showed his dominance over Bayawa 8-1 in
their best-of-15 match taking the title and richest purse in the
history of Philippine darts.
To sum it all up, the P5 Million Manny Pacquiao International
Darts Classic got what it takes to be the best ever tournament
organized in the Philippines --- the richest tournament ever,
record-breaking attendance, the best venue set-up in the history
of national tournaments, extensive press releases and media exposure,
credible and world-class tournament handling and management, happy
and satisfied darters who are still looking forward to another
Pacman-supported tournament next year.
With all the accolades given due to the enormous success of this
event, one thing is quite certain: Manny Pacquiao will always
be the greatest patron of darts in the Philippines and the National
Darts Federation of the Philippines will always strive to be the
leader in Philippine darts.