A Winnipeg Filipino basketball program is working to become the best Filipino basketball team in the world.

The under-18 NBTC team recently competed at the Canada Regional Tournament in July in Ontario, representing Winnipeg.

The tournament aims to showcase the top Filipino teams in the country.

They entered the tournament as underdogs, with teams from larger cities like Toronto and Vancouver expected to claim the top spot.

Eight teams competed, with the top two teams vying for a spot at the Global Games in the Philippines in 2023.

Winnipeg was able to beat the likes of Vancouver and Toronto en route to being crowned National Champions.

"We were all hyped, we were all ecstatic. Just knowing that we are going to the Philippines, it was a thrill," said Marco Guaring, a guard on the team.

"It's really big for the Filipino community, especially for the kids that are younger, they can look up to us, do the same thing, follow our footsteps, win on a big stage like this."

"We love the game so much. It's in our blood," said Manny Aranez, the commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association. "Even going back to when I started playing basketball in the early 60s. I came over here to Canada and started playing basketball. Basketball is always in my mind," Now that they are considered the best Filipino team in Canada, the team is preparing for the next challenge, the Global Games in the Philippines next year.

"I've seen the competition, they are really tough. They're more aggressive, bigger, stronger. To go to the next level, for us, we need to be better," said Lorence Dela Cruz, another guard on the team.

"Playing overseas really, it kind of makes a name for Winnipeg. We're not just a small prairie city in the country. We can compete," said Guaring.

But for now, they are enjoying their precedent-setting success before making the trip overseas.