Meet the Filipino designer behind James Harden's "Manila Heritage" sneakers

Aside from Brooklyn Nets fans, some Philippine basketball fans are also keenly awaiting the return of James Harden from his recent hamstring injury as they are eager to see the colors of the Philippine flag in the NBA playoffs once again.

The Brooklyn guard debuted the Adidas James Harden Vol. 5 "Manila Heritage" in Game 3 of their first-round battle against the Boston Celtics. Harden caught fire in that game with 41 points and 10 assists and, although the Nets lost that game, they ultimately won the best-of-seven series, 4-1.

Unfortunately, Harden only got to play one minute in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Milwaukee Bucks due to an injured hamstring. Every win for the Nets, however, is a step towards giving Harden more time to recover from his injury and possibly rejoin them later in the playoffs.

Quiccs Maiquez, a Filipino illustrator, toy designer, and graphic artist is one, designed the shoe and is one of many who are hoping to see it on the floor again. He's hopeful that Harden will use it in a future game as the first time caught him off-guard.

"It was highly unexpected because nobody told us he would wear it during that game," Maiquez said. "The people from Adidas started messaging us to watch the game and my sister and I kept pausing the stream to take screenshots."

Maiquez has collaborated with Adidas before but it was his first time to design a shoe for them. According to him, he submitted many studies but was not surprised when the company selected the one with the Philippine colors.

"The colors of the Philippine flag are very dynamic. In terms of design, it's dynamic in the sense that it's quite easy to play with. It instantly becomes an eye catcher," he said. "If you see the other colors of the Harden Vol. 5 colorways, this design really stands out."

According to Adidas, Harden's line was chosen as it is the pinnacle of their basketball line. The 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player was also the last Adidas athlete to visit the Philippines and this is actually commemorated with 06.26.19 inscribed on the shoe, which was the date of his arrival. "I've always been a big fan of basketball and Adidas, so I'm beyond honored that Adidas has given me this opportunity with 'Manila Heritage' to use my creativity in paying tribute to James Harden," said the artist.

Harden Vol. 5 "Manila Heritage" will be retailing all over the country on June 12 as the Philippines celebrates its 123rd Independence Day.