JAMES Yap and his team may be coming off a poor season, but his popularity among PBA fans certainly hasn't waned.
According to Toby’s Sports, one of the country’s biggest retail sports chains, the Stars franchise player with the penchant for hitting crucial shots owns the best-selling PBA jersey in their stores nationwide.
The two-time league MVP is still considered the face of the PBA - a tag justified by the popularity of his No. 18 Star jersey based on current nationwide sales of the Toby's chain of official PBA replica jerseys.
After Yap, the best-selling player PBA jerseys are those of Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu at second and high-flying Chris Ellis of Barangay Ginebra coming in at third. The ‘Fast and the Furious’ duo of Gin Kings Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand complete the Top 5.
Notable mentions are the recently unretired Jimmy Alapag of Talk 'N Text and Gilas fame and Elasto Painters gunners Jeff Chan and Paul Lee.
It’s worth noting that all of the aforementioned players are all guards, a position most Pinoy fans find easy to identify with because of their size.
Toby’s Retail Channel head Lawrence Navarro said that while Yap may be the most popular player jersey-wise, crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra leads the team jersey category.
Coming in second is archrival Purefoods/ Star while the Alaska Aces hold third place.
Accel jerseys, which have a suggested retail price of P750, have the team’s name, player’s name and PBA logo along with the Accel branding in rubberized printing. Corresponding team shorts (P650 SRP) made from the same material as the tops are also available.
After the jerseys, the next most sought-after PBA merchandise are Toby’s basic team T-shirts. Customers also look for accessories such as socks, ball caps, and head and wrist bands.
With the resurgence of the local basketball scene, Toby’s also aims to capitalize with additional licensed products in the future, Navarro said.
“For the PBA, we plan to develop statement shirts with the monikers of popular players as well as lifestyle jackets,” Navarro told Spin.ph.
According to Toby's, the jerseys on sale are selected via what’s popular and what the PBA itself recommends.
“We base our buying or development of merchandise from feedback from our stores. We also get tips from the PBA Licensing office,” Navarro explained.