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Patrick Gardner goes for 20 and 7 to lead Egypt to historic win over Mexico

Patrick Gardner who on Monday acknowledged he will join the Nets training camp in October, went on a tear Tuesday night in Manila, scoring 20 points, including four 3-pointers, grabbing seven rebounds, leading Egypt to a 100-72 blowout win over Mexico in the FIBA World Cup.

Gardner, a 6’11” big with a deft shooting touch, hit 7-of-12 overall, including 4-of-7 from three and also handed out three assists in the win, Egypt’s first in World Cup play in 29 years. The win also ended the Pharaohs’ 19-game losing streak in the preliminary round of the Cup.

The 24-year-old Merrick, Long Island, native went undrafted in June, then played for the Heat in Summer League before signing up with the Egyptian national team. Gardner’s mother is a native of Cairo, where he spent his summers during high school. He acquired his Egyptian passport just days before the FIBA World Cup opened and scored only two points in Egypt’s loss to Lithuania on Opening Night of the World Cup, then went for 13 and 8 vs. Montenegro and Nikola Vucevic of the Bulls.

In his post-game comments, Gardner talked about what he wants to bring to the Nets when he joins the team training camp as an Exhibit 10 signing in October. “I’m really good in the locker room. I encourage teammates. I’m not toxic” he said. He also talked about who he’s looking forward to playing against in camp ... Ben Simmons.

Asked whose game he tries to model, Gardner mentioned Dirk Nowitzke and Toni Kukoc historically and Lauri Markkanen and Nikola Jokic currently.

He said he had not yet spoken with Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn or other team officials, adding, “it’s early.” Gardner has not yet officially signed with Brooklyn. That’s expected to take place after the World Cup ends on September 10.

Gardner led Egypt’s offense early when the Pharaohs opened the game strong against Mexico, scoring 15 points — including 12 in the second quarter — and grabbing five rebounds in the first half. He’s No. 15 in white with the headband...

Gardner was the subject of a FIBA feature on Monday in which he spoke about playing for Egypt is a dream come true and his future in Brooklyn.

“My mom is Egyptian, she was raised in Egypt. My dad is American, he’s got some Italian and Irish to him, I lived in New York my whole life, but I spent my summers in Egypt, and I’ve always wanted to play for this team.”

He admitted he’s still learning Arabic.

“I’m learning, I still can’t speak fluently, but my mom and my teammates are teaching me.”

As for the Nets, Gardner talked about his likely path, an assignment to Long Island, but wasn’t limiting himself.

“I was fortunate enough to get a training camp invite for the Nets, then depending how I do here and in general, hopefully I could just keep moving up from there. I think I’m gonna be with the G League team, but you never know what could happen, just got to be prepared for all options,” he said, looking ahead.

Unfortunately for Egypt, they will not advance to the next round. Regardless of the result of the Montenegro-Lithuania match later Tuesday, the two teams led by Nikola Vucevic and Jonas Valanciunas, respectively, have already punched their ticket onto the next phase as their records will allow them to be the two best teams in Group D. Alongside Mexico, Egypt will now compete in the 17-32 classification phase.

“We had a quick celebration in the locker room, and now we’re moving on and getting ready for our next game because we didn’t come here to win just one game, cheer, and then go home,” said coach Roy Rana after the game, commenting on the end of Egypt’s losing streak.

Former Net Jorge Gutierrez played four minutes for Mexico, but did not score.