MANILA, Philippines – TNT imports Mike Myers and Michael Craig made a relatively quiet exit from the Araneta Coliseum court when the final buzzer sounded in Game 3 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals on Sunday.
After the KaTropa absorbed a 97-109 loss that put them down 1-2 in the best-of-seven Finals series against San Miguel Beer, both Craig and Myers headed into the TNT dugout with little fanfare.
It was a turnaround compared to what happened at halftime, when the two imports found themselves embroiled in a bit of drama with San Miguel Beer officials, after already having engaged the Beermen in trash talk inside the court.
Sitting at courtside, both Myers – a stand-in import for Joshua Smith – and Craig, TNT's import for the Governors' Cup, made their support for the KaTropa well known, pumping up Smith whenever he scored and jeering the Beermen. They eventually had to be relocated to the TNT bench after the SMB staff got involved in their exchanges with the players.
"I'm just cheering on my team, that's all. It was nothing serious," said Myers, who was brought in ahead of the Finals just in case, after the game.
"No bad blood. We're just competing, that's all. We're just cheering for my team, going hard for my team," he added.
There was further commotion as both teams entered their respective dugouts at halftime, with San Miguel Beer officials seen confronting PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa. One of the TNT imports – later alleged to be Myers – was accused of pushing the Big Dome gate, which hit SMB team governor Robert Non.
Myers vehemently denied the accusation. "I don't know what happened with that," he said. "I didn't push no gate."
"I was just walking over, and the gate was just pushed," he insisted. "I had nothing to do with that."
Craig backed up Myers' statement. "Nothing really happened. Somebody swung the gate open, and it happened to hit one of the fans," he said. "I don't know. I didn't swing the gate. I don't know what happened."
What's for sure is that both Myers and Craig have sufficiently introduced themselves to the Beermen and their fans. It is still possible that Myers may suit up for TNT in the Finals, though at this point, coach Nash Racela said they are not considering making a change.
Nevertheless, Myers said he is ready, and Sunday night's events only made him more eager to play.
"I'm real excited right now. I want to play so bad," he said. "I'm very excited. I'm just waiting for my time to come. When my time comes, I'm ready."
San Miguel guard Chris Ross – the primary target of Myers' and Craig's trash talk – already has his eye on Craig.
"The guy told me he's playing next conference. I said I'm not worried about the next conference, I'm worried about the game right now," said Ross, who had 17 points in the contest.
"If what he wants to do is talk, then he'll l have his time to back it up in the next conference," he added. "I heard he's a really good player. I hope he is. If he's good, then it's good for the league."
"It was nothing crazy, but I'm focused on winning games in the Finals. I'm not worried about next conference."
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