Tuesday, April 14, 2009
LOS ANGELES -- Watch out Ricky, Manny has not forgotten his loss to you in a dart game in Manchester, and now he honing his skills in the steel tip game to prepare for a rematch.
Pacquiao, a consummate sporstman who plays billiards, chess, table tennis, basketball and darts, among others, and oh by the way, is the world's top pound-for-pound boxer, has sponsored a $30,000 Pacmania Open Steel Tip Dart Tournament at the Wilshire Plaza Hotel along Wilshire Blvd. in this city where some of the best dart players in the U.S. are participating.
The two-day tournament which will end tonight, is being participated in by close to 200 players who came from all over the United States headed Darren Young, Chris White, Robert Heckman and Scotty Burnett, considered to be among the top ten dart players in the U.S.
Top Filipino players who joined the tournament and who made their presence felt are Nico Depenos, Lito Moises and tournament organizer Rhen Fuentes.
Fuentes, who plays the game professionally and is the team captain of the San Francisco Darts Club, has been tapped by Pacquiao to put up dart tournaments primarily to help and flush out good Filipino dart players staying in the U.S.
"The tournament is both (Pacquiao and Fuentes) our idea," Fuentes told Philboxing.com. "I told Manny that there are many good Filipino dart players in the U.S. who could stand on their own among the world's best who just needed to be given enough exposure. So we came with the idea of putting up tournaments."
"By all indications," Fuentes continued, "our first tournament is a huge success and we have another one calendared in June already. We are also going to have a tournament during Pacquiao's birthday in December with a total purse of $60,000."
Pacquiao's and Fuentes's project is expected to perk up interest in the game among Filipinos in the U.S. and back home. Already, Nico Depenos has captured the singles championship in the Wilshire tournament. The doubles is still up for grabs where Pacquiao is teaming up with another Filipino as of press time.
Asked how good Pacquiao is as a dart player on a scale of 1 to 10, Fuentes said "when I met him he used to be 5, but as of now he is an 8."
Ricky Hatton, who is now training in Las Vegas for the mega-fight with Pacquiao on May 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena for the 'Battle of east and West', may take note of that.
Top photo: Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao prepares to throw the dart during the Pacmania Open Steel Tip Dart Tournament at the Wilshire Plaza Hotel along Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles Sunday. Photo by Dong Secuya.
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