Basketball: Kings feel pressure of progress

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IN THE final two minutes of Guildford Kings' 79-73 victory over Kalev Tallinn at Crystal Palace on Thursday night, the two most anguished faces in the arena belonged to the Surrey club's coach, Kevin Cadle, and their co-owner, Barry Dow, writes Duncan Hooper.

When the Estonian international forward, Gert Kullame, missed with two three-point attempts in the final 10 seconds, Guildford survived the preliminary round of the European Championship for men's clubs by 154-153 on aggregate.

Dow, like Cadle an American, bought the Kings last season when, known as Kingston, they won all the domestic titles. With about pounds 60,000 sponsorship from Texaco, Dow has allowed Cadle to build a squad which has exceeded the National League's salary cap but which will have to cause a major upset to eliminate Limoges in the next round. The French club stand between Guildford and the pounds 250,000 satellite and continental television revenue which goes with a place in the final pool.

Cadle faces the same pressures as last season, when elimination by Mechelen cost Kingston a place among the elite and the television revenue, prompting an immediate cut in personnel and salaries. Cadle said: 'You have to deal with the pressure and hopefully we've learned from last season. Pressure is nothing more than a word but when you put it on your back you make a lot more of it.'