Lourence Ilagan, Man Lok Leung and Haruki Muramatsu shared titles as the 2023 PDC Asian Tour began in Kobe.
The PDC Asian Tour returns to a full calendar of events for the first time in four years in 2023, with 24 events scheduled to take place across the continent over the next 12 months.
Ilagan dominated the opening weekend of action in Japan, reaching all three finals and scooping the Event Two title to establish an early lead on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The 45-year-old scooped seven Asian Tour titles during its infancy, before the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the 2020 campaign, with subsequent restrictions prohibiting the tour's return in 2021 and 2022.
However, Ilagan continued from where he left off in Kobe, dispatching Japan’s Motomu Sakai 5-2 in Saturday’s final to wrap up Event Two success.
The seven-time World Championship qualifier relinquished the solitary leg in reaching the semi-finals, before following up a 5-3 win over Jun Matsuda with victory over Sakai.
Ilagan also underlined his credentials in Event One, averaging 102.9 in his semi-final demolition of Nobuhiro Yamamoto, who made his Cazoo World Championship debut in December.
However, it was Hong Kong’s emerging star Leung who claimed the Event One spoils, reeling off four straight legs in 15, 14, 14 and 11 darts to complete a 5-3 comeback win over Ilagan.
The 23-year-old also edged out Japan’s former World Cup semi-finalist Seigo Asada in the last 16, before averaging 97 and 95 in wins over Matsuda and Tomoya Goto respectively.
Meanwhile, in Event Three, Muramatsu produced a series of consistent displays to clinch his first PDC Asian Tour title since 2019, sealed with a dramatic last-leg win over Ilagan.
Japan’s World Cup veteran raced into a 4-1 lead, and although Ilagan replied with a run of three straight legs in just 43 darts, Muramatsu held his nerve to triumph with a 14-darter in the decider.
Following the opening three events, Ilagan boasts a $1,800 lead over Leung on the Order of Merit, with Muramatsu $1,900 adrift in third place.
The PDC Asian Tour continues on March 25-26, with Events 4-6 taking place in Seoul later this month, before Tacloban plays host to Events 7-9 on April 15-16.
2023 PDC Asian Tour
Saturday March 11
Nobuhiro Yamamoto 4-2 Eupakaree Attapl
Lourence Ilagan 4-1 Tomoya Tsumura
Man Lok Leung 4-2 Jun Matsuda
Tomoya Goto 4-1 Shingo Enomata
Lourence Ilagan 5-0 Nobuhiro Yamamoto
Man Lok Leung 5-1 Tomoya Goto
Man Lok Leung 5-3 Lourence Ilagan
Lourence Ilagan 4-0 Toru Suzuki
Jun Matsuda 4-2 Mikuru Suzuki
Motomu Sakai 4-3 George Nishitani
Keita Ono 4-3 Shoji Edward Foulkes
Lourence Ilagan 5-3 Jun Matsuda
Motomu Sakai 5-3 Keita Ono
Lourence Ilagan 5-2 Motomu Sakai
Sunday March 12
Lourence Ilagan 4-1 Kenichi Ajiki
Seigo Asada 4-1 Toru Suzuki
Alexis Toylo 4-2 Shingo Enomata
Haruki Muramatsu 4-1 Motomu Sakai
Lourence Ilagan 5-2 Seigo Asada
Haruki Muramatsu 5-1 Alexis Toylo
Haruki Muramatsu 5-4 Lourence Ilagan