Seven straight defeats and the loss of their veteran leader hasn't left the injury-plagued Wollongong Hawks down in the dumps.
The Hawks fly west this morning to prepare for tomorrow night's battle with inconsistent Adelaide and Sunday's stoush with second-placed Perth.
Even after losing long-serving forward Glen Saville to a knee injury and nine of their past 10 games, Wollongong remain in the top four.
Saville suffered the injury in last week's loss to New Zealand and becomes the team's seventh player to miss games through injury this season.
Despite everything the Hawks have endured, guard Adris Deleon said his side's optimism hadn't waned.
"I've never been in a situation like this before with all the injuries, but at the end of the day it's still basketball, it's still five on five, so we just have to go out there and compete," Deleon said.
"We've lost seven straight and we're still in fourth place, so I take positives from that. The way we've been losing, it was by two points or one point or in overtime, and [last Saturday] we were right in the game up to the fourth quarter. That shows the type of character we have in this team.
"People have to step up and take that challenge, that's part of the sport. I'm really proud of our team. Everybody's giving their all on the court. No-one's thinking 'oh we're gonna lose'. We're staying together and we're going to keep fighting."
Given that New Zealand and Perth have a mortgage on the top two spots, the other six teams are vying for third and fourth.
Wollongong have won eight of their 18 games, but with third-placed Sydney also faltering lately, 12 or 13 wins might be all that's required to secure a finals invitation.
Melbourne (7-10) appear to be the team most likely to force their way into the finals, while Cairns (6-11), Townsville (6-12) and the 36ers (6-13) are all still in the race.
But if the Hawks win four or five of their final 10 games, that could be enough to finish in the top four.
"It's going to be Adelaide and Townsville and those teams - they're the teams we have to beat," Deleon said.
Deleon is one of the few players on the Wollongong roster to play all 18 games this season.
But after coming off the bench for the first 15 games, he has started the past three due to season-ending knee injuries to Rhys Martin and Lance Hurdle.
"Since the beginning of the season my role has changed," he said.
"I used to come off the bench and provide energy and play my game. Now it's like, I still need to play my game but at the same time get other people shots."
The Hawks beat the Sixers by 14 in Adelaide in their only previous meeting this season and hold a 2-1 edge over Perth.