36ers veteran keeping the faith
SIX countries, two championships and a serious injury which sidelined him for nearly a year.
Daniel Dillon has ridden basketball's highs and lows throughout a 15-year career at home and abroad.
So the veteran guard is refusing to give up on Adelaide 36ers' flagging NBL campaign, despite three-straight losses heading into the New Year's Day clash with Perth Wildcats.
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"We have the right formula to turn it around," Dillon, 33, said.
"We've just got to keep that positive belief, knowing we have a really good roster.
"It's about collectively putting it together and sacrificing a little bit to know that we can string some games together.
"We've played some good quarters ... but just carrying that on for four quarters is the problem.
"We've got the right personnel to get a win and get back on track for the playoffs."
The Sixers (8-10) have dropped a trio of matches to sides previously sitting below them on the ladder to slump to second-bottom with 10 regular season matches remaining.
But just one victory, as well as a logjam of three fellow playoff hopefuls, separates Adelaide from fourth-placed Cairns Taipans.
The SA club will face traditional rival Perth (13-6) at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, as the second-ranked visitors come off a stunning road win against competition-leader Sydney Kings.
But off-season recruit Dillon said his team shared qualities with the Melbourne United side he was part of in 2018, when it downed the 36ers in the grand final while he was out with a torn Achilles.
"I learned some things that build a championship culture," said Dillon, who spent nine months off the court with the setback.
"If we can replicate some of those things, I know we're heading in a good direction here.
"(Coach) Joey (Wright) has been around and he's won a few championships too.
"But everyone needs to buy in and knuckle down this last stretch.
"Everyone has had that fun time at home for Christmas and enjoyed themselves, but this last stretch is business time."
Dillon has averaged 10 minutes and 3.3 points, mainly off the bench, since arriving at the Sixers from French outfit Paris Basketball in May.
The 193cm Victorian, who had a four-year college hoops stint at the University of Arizona, was enjoying the familiarity of his homeland following spells in Romania, Poland and Japan.
"You play in different countries and different leagues and it's interesting to play the different styles of basketball," said Dillon, a development player with South Dragons during its 2009 NBL title success.
"Off-court as well ... I lived in Paris and that's probably one of the best cities that I've been to in the world as far as history and culture goes.
"Then being in Japan is a whole completely different kind of culture to anywhere else in the world.
"I have very fond memories and I've met some amazing people and had some really good experiences.
"But I'm definitely happy to be home back in Australia.
"I know Adelaide is trying to do some big things ... and I'm happy to be part of that process."