Basketball: Cadle's Kings pasta caring

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THE impoverished Guildford Kings face Italian basketball's dollars 9m man when they resume their agonising progress through the European Clubs Championship semi-final pool at Benetton Treviso tonight, writes Duncan Hooper.

When Treviso needed to replace Toni Kukoc last summer, after the Croat moved to the Chicago Bulls, they paid dollars 9m ( pounds 6.25m) to Milan for their 6ft 6in international forward, Ricardo Pittis.

The fee for Pittis, 25, six times more than the entire amount Budweiser is investing in the English Premier Division over the next three years, must bring the Guildford coach Kevin Cadle close to tears.

After losing their first six group games, Guildford face the Italians without any Americans, having released Tracy Pearson and Lorenzo Duncan before Christmas through lack of funds. Guildford have also lost Martin Helan to injury.

Pearson, in fact, may be rejoining Guildford today, in an attempt to recoup the money he is owed by the club.

Cadle is under no illusions as to what Guildford can hope to extract from this trip to the town in the Po valley. 'Enjoy the food, try some new pasta,' the dispirited coach said.