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Watch Live: Egypt vs. New Zealand, 4:45 a.m. on ESPN+

Biggest game in Egyptian basketball history? It’s right up there. A win Saturday would virtually assure an Olympic bid for the Pharaohs and Patrick Gardner.

Egypt v Mexico: Group D - FIBA Basketball World Cup Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

Patrick Gardner will start Saturday in what could be the biggest game in Egyptian basketball history Saturday. A win over New Zealand would mean an Olympic bid for the Pharaohs in next year’s Paris Olympics.

The game, in the Mall of Asia arena in Manila, would also give the Egyptians a 3-2 record in the FIBA World Cup, quite the accomplishment considering the African nation of 109 million people hadn’t won in FIBA play since 1994 before this week.

Gardner, the Nets’ 6’11” training camp invite, has had an up-and-down experience in Manila, scoring two points in Egypt’s first and fourth games, but 13 and 20 in the second and third, giving him a scoring average of 9.3 points a game, shooting better than 40% from deep. The Long Island native has also averaging 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Gardner’s mother was born in Cairo.

In Thursday’s game vs. Jordan, a big win for Egypt, Gardner had some turnover issues early and his mentor, Assem Marei, Egypt’s veteran big, had a huge game, limiting Gardner’s minutes. But New Zealand, who are 1-3 in Cup play, is going to be a tougher opponent. They’re led by Shea Ili, a 6’0” point guard who’s averaging 21.5 points.

A win over New Zealand would virtually assure an Olympic bid, Egypt’s first since 1988.

“Making it to the Olympics is always special,” said Egypt’s Canadian coach Roy Rana. “We continue to improve, as the tournament goes on and hopefully, we have one more special game ahead of us.”

Live stats can be found here.

WHO: Egypt vs. New Zealand

WHEN: Saturday, 4:45 a.m. ET.

WHERE: ESPN+ and Courtside1891, the official streaming service of the FIBA World Cup.