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World Darts Championship Dec 2008Manny Pacquiao P5 Million International Darts Classic: The Mother of All Tournaments

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 of players.

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.

View Complete Results and Pictures  
Updated Dec 09, 2009  

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