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Former Villanova Star Mikal Bridges Inching Closer To Winning NBA Finals With The Phoenix Suns

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A few years ago, Mikal Bridges was on the Philadelphia 76ers for a brief moment. But shortly after he walked across the stage sporting a Sixers hat, shook NBA commissioner Adam Silver's hand, and said in an interview how excited he was to play for his hometown team, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. 

Bridges' mother, Tyneeha Rivers, who was a Sixers employee at the time, was looking forward to her son coming home.

"When I go back to the draft, of course it was an emotional roller coaster," Rivers told CBS3's Pat Gallen. "I'm just thankful that at the end of the day, Mikal walked away [as] the No. 10 overall pick in the draft, so that was amazing."   

Rivers is right — her son landed in a very good situation on the west coast.

Now, Bridges is three wins away from adding an NBA Finals to his resume. 

The Suns topped the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-105, in Game 1 of The Finals to take a 1-0 series lead. Bridges scored 14 points and drained two 3-pointers in the victory. Game 2 is on Thursday and set to tip at 9 p.m. in Phoenix.

"It's just so surreal," Rivers said. "For him to be playing at this stage, looking at potentially a championship, it's amazing."

Bridges, a former two-time NCAA national champion who starred at Villanova, has become an integral part to the Suns and one of the best young wing players in the NBA. He started all 72 games for Phoenix this season and upped his scoring average by four points to 13.5 points per game. 

He also shot a career-high 42.5 percent from beyond the arc, which is key for Bridges' development as a 3-and-D player in the NBA.

Michigan v Villanova
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Mikal Bridges #25 of the Villanova Wildcats cuts down the net after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Great Valley High School product fell just short of making the NBA's All-Defensive teams. He received 39 total points, 31 second-team votes and four first-team votes. 

While Rivers is certainly proud of her son for his accomplishments on the basketball court, she said he's even better off the court.

"I couldn't ask for a better son, he's awesome," she said.

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