Diaz-Tolentino (MAELO) Led Dominican Basketball Federation 2K Team to Gold Medal in FIBA Esports Open III in May 2021
ATLANTA – Hawks Talon Gaming announced today the hiring of Ismael Diaz-Tolentino (MAELO) to be the team’s new head coach. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
“The experience and energy that MAELO brings to Hawks Talon Gaming was exactly what we were looking for,” said Hawks Talon Gaming Director of Esports Wesley Acuff. “The biggest step towards building the winning culture that we want is bringing in someone who is both a great tactician and possesses a winning mentality, and MAELO will help us from day one.”
Diaz Tolentino, a native of Bani, Dominican Republic, bodes four years of coaching experience and building gaming communities. Diaz-Tolentino’s most recent coaching experience was with the Dominican Basketball Federation as their esports coach and general manager. He led the team’s effort in winning the gold medal over the United States at the FIBA Esports Open III in May 2021.
“Throughout our search for a head coach, we found it very important that our new coach is a leader both on and off the virtual court,” said Hawks’ Vice President of G League and 2K League Operations Janice Koon. “We are excited to give Ismael an opportunity to lead Hawks Talon.”
The 28-year-old was also instrumental in creating La Liga Latina de NBA 2K and acted as the commissioner of the new league upon its creation. There, he brought together teams from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean to compete in NBA 2K.
“It has always been my dream to compete at the highest level with the best professionals in the world around me,” said Diaz-Tolentino. “I am grateful to Hawks Talon for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream, and I can’t wait to get to work in building together with the team every day.”
In November, Hawks Talon Gaming protected point guard Caesar “CEEZ” Martinez and versatile guard/forward Michael “SWANN” Swanegan from the 2021 NBA 2K League Expansion Draft. As a result of the NBA 2K League Draft Lottery, the team received the sixth pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA 2K League Draft. They will have four selections in the draft overall.