The conclusion of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup draws closer as the top four contenders of this conference are now in the thick of their respective semifinals battles.
But just like how explosive the battles are, the race for the coveted “Sneaker King” crown is also blazing with intensity. While there are clear-cut contenders, some other big names are making their final push to bring home the crown.
With that said, here are the best sneakers from last week’s PBA semifinals games.
5. Nike Kyrie 7 “Copa”(Paul Lee, Magnolia)
Undoubtedly, the former UE Red Warrior is the perfect embodiment of razzle-dazzle crossovers and superb basketball skills, making him one of the marquee players in the league.
But along with his intimidating on-court presence and elite skills, Lee’s shoe game is something that deserves more applause. Unfortunately, due to the heavy sneaker artillery that the likes Chris Ross and Mikey Williams always bring to the table, Lee can’t help but get his sneaker collection overshadowed in the past couple of weeks.
Nonetheless, Magnolia’s main man is a prominent clutch player and is set to prove that once more as he landed for the first time on our weekly sneaker ranking.
During Magnolia’s convincing Game 2 victory against Meralco last Wednesday, the 32-year-old guard laced up a pair that is most probably the perfect complement to his playing style. Lee played using the Nike Kyrie 7 “Copa”, a basketball sneaker designed for shifty players like himself.
The Kyrie 7 is a great choice especially for the likes of Lee, knowing that the pair was designed for Kyrie Irving, a player known for his speed and shiftiness. Additionally, the Copa silhouette is absolutely astounding with its fresh and clean-looking vibes.
The pair may not have that much hype and is projected to hit the outlet stores soon, but its brilliance could never be denied.
4. Air Jordan 13 “Melo Class of 2002” (Chris Ross, San Miguel)
This could be a massive spoiler, but SMB’s Ross is an outright and obvious “Sneaker King” crown contender. The 36-year-old combo guard keeps on pulling out Air Jordan pairs left and right and there is no sign of him stopping this trend. After all, the Filipino-American athletic guard is a renowned Air Jordan collector.
After lacing up some heat pairs like the Air Jordan 11 “Bred” 2019 and a couple of Air Jordan 14 in “Candy Cane” and “Last Shot” silhouettes during his previous appearances on our weekly list, Ross decided to make it a bit lowkey this time.
During a tight win against Tropang Giga in Game 2 last Wednesday, Ross laced up a black and yellow silhouette of the iconic Air Jordan 13 known as the “Melo Class of 2002”.
This silhouette of the Jordan 13 is a part of the brand’s “Graduation Pack” in 2018 and nods to NBA star Carmelo Anthony’s alma mater in high school, the Oak Hill Academy. The “Graduation Pack” also paid homage to other NBA stars such as Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
The pair was set to release in September 2018 but it was pulled from the SNKR app which was followed by several tweets from known retailers such as Champs and Finish Line stating that the release of the Jordan 13 was cancelled.
Apparently, the cancellation was due to a “minor cosmetic flaw” which was confirmed by the Jordan brand’s spokesperson. Nonetheless, grade school and preschool sizes went on to be released while men and toddler sizes got totally pulled out of the release date.
Thereafter, Nike Factory released several flawed Jordan 13 “Melo Class of 2002” pairs.
3. Kobe 11 Elite Low “Bruce Lee”(Mo Tautuaa, San Miguel)
Speaking of making a last push for the crown, San Miguel’s Mo Tautuaa is making his presence felt both on the hard court and on our list as he made his very first appearance on our ranking.
Actually, the Filipino-Tongan big man’s sneaker game has been under the radar for quite some time. For several games, Tautuaa was witnessed lacing up various Kobe pairs, which was a bit surprising considering that he is a big man. However, he kept getting overshadowed by other players with better sneaker silhouettes.
Nonetheless, the time has finally come for Tautuaa to get the spot that is rightfully his. During the Beermen’s underwhelming 17-point blow-out at the hands of the Tropang Giga last Friday, the 6-foot-8 center brought out an iconic Kobe 11 Elite Low.
This is actually the first time that a Kobe 11 silhouette appeared on our list. Well, considering that the pair was released back in 2016, it is understandable that we rarely see such sneakers even from PBA stars.
In his first appearance, Tautuaa already made an impact after pulling out a “Bruce Lee” silhouette of the Kobe 11 which was released in March 2016. The color blocking of the pair was inspired by Bruce Lee’s jumpsuit in his final film “Game of Death”, along with the iconic red scratch marks on the heel as a nod to Lee’s chest wounds in the movie “Enter the Dragon”.
The Kobe 11 Elite Low “Bruce Lee” is currently valued at around PhP 30,000.
2. Zoom Kobe 4 Protro “Carpe Diem” (Mo Tautuaa, San Miguel)
With most of the Kobe users eliminated from contention, it seems like the perfect time for Tautuaa to finally enjoy the spotlight. After placing on the third spot in his first appearance, Tautuaa looks determined to be one of the “Sneaker King” title contenders as he landed on the ranking once more this week.
Pulling out a Kobe 11 “Bruce Lee” is already worthy enough to land at the top of the list, however, it seems like the 32-year-old big man has no plans settling on the third spot.
Last Wednesday, Tautuaa laced up a highly sought-after sneaker from the Kobe line, the Zoom Kobe 4 Protro “Carpe Diem”.
Originally released in 2009, this silhouette of the Kobe 4 returned in June 2019 to pay homage to the late great Kobe Bryant’s sole team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and mark the silhouette’s 10th year.
The “Carpe Diem”, which means “Seize the Day”, is an embodiment of Bryant’s signature “Mamba Mentality”, which reflects the five-time NBA champion’s unparalleled work ethic and intense killer instinct.
The Kobe 4 “Carpe Diem” currently sits at PhP 28,000.
1. Zoom Kobe 6 “Prelude” (Mikey Williams, TNT)
When the TNT’s rookie sensation did not lace up some joints during their Game 2 loss against the Beermen, it seemed like the “Sneaker King” contender will not make the list this week.
However, along with the Tropang Giga’s overwhelming revenge in Game 3 last Friday, Williams also sealed the top spot of Week 9’s ranking by pulling out the Zoom Kobe 6 “Prelude”, an expensive and rare Kobe sneaker.
The “Prelude” colorway of the Kobe 6 was a part of the eight-shoe capsule that featured the full history of the Kobe line with Nike and served as a pre-show to the launch of the Nike Kobe 9 in January 2014.
This silhouette depicted the eclectic Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. But along with the sentimental inspiration, the pair comes with a hefty price, too.
The Kobe 6 “Prelude” is currently valued at PhP 90,000.