Romwell “Mel” Tagalog made many bull’s-eyes for the Cayman Islands in Tampa, Florida.
Tagalog advanced to the finals of the Americas Cup at the 20th Caribbean Cup Tournament, organized by the Caribbean Darts Organization in conjunction with the Florida Dart Association. Tagalog beat Jim Widmayer of the United States 3-2, in the third round before defeating Widmayer’s countryman, Tom Sawyer, in the semifinals 3-1. Tagalog lost to Canada’s Dave Cameron in the championship match.
Tagalog’s teammate Edward Ballantyne said he is proud of this week’s achievement.
“My little friend was in the singles final and took out the USA No. 3 in the quarters and the USA No. 2 in the semis, absolutely amazing,” Ballantyne said. “I can’t say enough about how proud of him I and the team are. Go Cayman, Go Mel!”
The U.S. won the team event as Sawyer and Widmayer joined forces with Sandy Hudson, Brenda Roush and manager David Hascup. The Americans defeated Brazil, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Canada en route to the championship.
The biannual competition runs at the Mainsail Suites Hotel and Conference Center until July 20 with competitors currently vying for the Caribbean championship. Cayman is being represented by 18 people, with the team put together by the Cayman Islands Darts Association. In addition to Tagalog and Ballantyne, the squad features manager Paul Anglin, coach Cassius Anglin, captain Rodan Asuncion, Hank “The Hammer” Ebanks, Miriam Rodriguez, Earl “The Pearl” Smith, Cliff Weeks, Norrin Stewart, Neville Parker, Nathina Ebanks, Rosyl Deguzman, Irma Smith, Kimberly Stewart and juniors Adrian Anglin, Arek Archibold and Kaylone Warren.
In addition to the aforementioned countries, Cayman will challenge teams from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Guyana, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. Players face a rigorous competition schedule with seven to eight hours of play each day.
A top priority for local hurlers is improving on a seventh place finish at the 2012 Caribbean Cup in Belize, where Cayman had three rookies, including Jasper Esguerra. Florida emerged the overall winners.
Prior to that result, Cayman had steadily been ranked among the top four nations in the region. In 2010, the team placed fourth in Abaco, Bahamas, and also finished fourth in Trinidad in the 2008 event; the same year Caymanian Edsell Haylock became the Caribbean singles champion.