Team Aucklands remaining positive despite going down 22-11 to Piran in their opening match of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Ustunomiya Masters in Japan.

The Slovakian team is the third seed for the tournament and were heavily favoured going into the match with the Kiwis, and their dominance shone through in the eleven point victory.

Rory Fannon led the way for Auckland with six points, and believed there were plenty of positives to take from the match against their much fancied opposition.

"Our inside play [was good], getting the ball inside is a great start if you can get a few easy baskets early," Fannon said.

"It makes them play honestly inside with no double-teams down and that allows kick outs for two-pointers for the guards.

"We also had good communication out there, stuck together and were really positive about what we were doing, talked about mistakes and tried to rectify them."

Despite the positives, Auckland know there will need to be improvements in their second game against Krakow.

With the teams in groups of three and the top two teams going through to the quarter-finals, the clash with the sixth seeded Polish side is must-win for the Kiwis if theyre to progress at the tournament.

"We have to work a little bit harder on defence," Fannon said.

"We fell off our man too much [against Piran] which equated to a lot of off the ball cuts to the basket, so if we play closer to our man and put a chest into his cutting lane as he goes to the basket, thats going to take away those.

"We also found that two-point shots arent that easy to come by in these World Tour games, and that were going to have to work harder to get a great pass to our two-point shooters, so they can get a quick two shot."

Aucklands second match against Krakow begins at 8:55pm NZT, and will be streamed live at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EBpkVll8zM.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand